The Finanial Times has some thoughts on free trade for criminals. Here is part of a presentation at an OECD conference on intellectual property rights:
The international community is losing the war against counterfeiting and piracy, a booming global industry that is increasingly under the control of organised crime, according to senior officials speaking at a conference in Rome.
The anti-piracy conference this week, organised by the the Italian government’s anti-piracy commission, was warned that almost everything was being counterfeited – from fake “Colgate” toothpaste containing harmful bacteria and antifreeze made in Thailand to “Dasani” water poured from the tap in Beijing. More dangerous was the growing market in counterfeit aviation and car parts, and fake drugs.
He told the conference that it had even been extremely difficult to reach an agreement on the definition of counterfeiting. Some law enforcement agencies did not give the issue priority, penalties in the courts were too lenient, and companies – notably in the aviation and luxury goods industry – were reluctant to divulge information on how their products were being copied for fear the publicity would hurt them. And governments did not like the finger of blame pointed at their territory, Mr Dryden said.
“The counterfeiters remain one step ahead,” he said. “It is a war on many fronts… The good guys are a ramshackle army despite the initiatives.”
The OECD report estimated international trade in counterfeit goods at some $200bn or 2 per cent of world trade in 2005. This figure does not include fakes produced for domestic consumption or digital piracy.
“Virtually everything can and probably has been counterfeited and is taking place in virtually every economy,” Mr Dryden said, noting a growing trend in products that are intended to deceive the consumer, such as food and drink and pharmaceuticals.
Bolts that look like high grade steel to hold trucks together. Small things that do not make the news but overall are as important as any of the news making items.
Slaves are one thing we can ignore but these things are household items. What do we do? How does one protect supply lines and figure out the players? Or is it not a problem for world concern? There is also the lack of courts to sue somebody for liability. And do we need a global police that is not ramshackle?