Internal Committee endorsed deal with the Council to improve the effectiveness of customs controls

The Internal Committee in the European Parliament endorsed an draft agreement with the Council to give customs officials at EU borders better tools to confiscate, store and destroy goods that infringe intellectual property rights.

MEPs at the Internal Market Committee in the European Parliament backed a deal with the Council on the new draft regulation on Customs Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights. This draft regulation aims to improve the effectiveness of customs controls so as to prevent illegal or dangerous products from entering the EU while setting down clear rules on detention and destruction procedures. The European Commission's report on EU customs published in July 2011 showed that the number of shipments stopped by European customs in 2010 almost doubled compared to previous year.

The Internal Committee stressed that the new rules will allow customs officials to work faster and more effectively. They include a simplified procedure to allow the destruction of goods without a court order, provided that the copyright holder agrees and the importer does not object. A special procedure for small consignments of up to three kilos will also speed up the destruction of counterfeit goods. The new rules set a 10-day deadline for the importer to object before the good is destroyed.

The agreement underlines that custom authorities must abide by the EU's international commitments and that medicines in transit may only be delayed or confiscated if there is "substantial likelihood" that they will end up on the EU market. As next steps, once Parliament has received confirmation of the Council's position it will be asked to give its final plenary endorsement at a second reading without further changing the text.