Home »Business and Economy » Pakistan » IPR’s role in protecting consumer rights Highlighted
Director General Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Enforcement Dr Arslan Subctageen has highlighted the important role of Intellectual Property Rights in safeguarding and protecting consumer rights by timely intercepting counterfeit goods at the ports and customs stations. The Directorate General of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Enforcement Islamabad arranged a seminar on "safeguarding consumer rights through IPR enforcement," which was held on Saturday at the Model Customs Collectorate (MCC) Islamabad. Dr Jawwad Uwais Agha, FBR Member (Customs-Operations), was the chief guest of the event.

Director General, Dr Arslan Subuctageen informed the gathering about the steps being taken to ensure prevention of import of counterfeits in Pakistan. He said that the agency is taking steps to improve the country's IPR global ranking. Directorate is also pursuing several global issues and trying to remove its name from watch list of the US trade representative. The directorate is also improving IPR global ranking and planning to issue IP national wise alert in collaboration with national and international organisations like World Customs Organisation (WCO) and World Trade Organisation (WTO).

In the past, the directorate has also abolished miscellaneous counterfeit goods including watches, soaps, sprays, creams, etc. Director General Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Enforcement Dr Arslan Subctageen gave a presentation on the performance of the Directorate General Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Enforcement. Muhammad Ismail, Director Enforcement Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan (IPO-Pakistan), Bilal Haider of Oxford University Press (OUP), and Ali Yaqooti, Manager GSK, also made presentations.

He said that the IPR become operational in 2017 and it has now the centralized contact office at FBR for IPR related issues with national and international organizations and trade & industry. He said that regional directorates at Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi are functioning with a mandate to interdict import and export of IPR violating goods through targeted investigations and operations. Dr. Arslan said that one of IPR's core functions is to collaborate with other counterpart organizations in strengthening IPR enforcement mechanism.

After consolidating the gains of IPR enforcement in imports, Pakistan Customs is planning to extend this protection to Pakistani exports, he added. Customs officials informed the seminar that role of Pakistan Customs is multi-faceted, ranging from border trade revenues to import and export controls. All these functions are rooted in the term 'trade facilitation', which is synonymous with ease of doing business. Trade facilitation is for trade in genuine goods only; it does not extend to trade in counterfeit products. This is the spirit of the TRIPS and WTO's Agreement on Trade Facilitation. The Directorate General of Customs IPR Enforcement ensures that counterfeit goods do not cross our national borders, and that the public is protected from their hazardous use. These efforts by Pakistan Customs have improved Pakistan's image and its international ranking in the Global IP Index, which would continue to grow further.

By preventing the import of counterfeits at our national seaports, airports and land border stations, the FBR is facilitating large-scale manufacturing in Pakistan to expand its domestic and international market share and speed up the economy. The FBR is continuously striving to enhance ease of doing business in Pakistan, attract large-scale FDI and provide the platform for robust economic growth. The FBR, through its pursuit of protecting large-scale manufacturing from the import of counterfeit products, is playing a vital role in the economic development of the country.

At the end, concluding remarks were made by chief guest Dr Jawad Awais Agha. Member Customs (Operation), FBR, Islamabad. The chief guest appreciated the efforts of the Directorate General of IPR (Enforcement) Customs Islamabad and stressed the need of protection of Rights of Pakistani consumers specially their health and safety through enforcement measures by Pakistan Customs against the counterfeit imports and infringement of the rights of bona fide traders and right holders.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

the author

Sohail Sarfraz is the Chief Reporter in Islamabad. He has been with the paper for over a decade and his contributions to reports on tax related matters as well as Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan are recognized and appreciated not only by his readers but also by his colleagues in other media outlets.