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- Winning the Future Through Exports
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- ITA Win in Kenya
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ITA Win in Kenya
The recent seizure of counterfeit packaging in Kenya demonstrates how the concerted efforts of the International Trade Administration, along with other federal agencies and their foreign counterparts, can bring concrete benefits to U.S. companies.
by John Ward
In May, Kenyan customs officials intercepted a shipment of more than 140,000 fake Hewlett Packard (HP) packaging components and labels. (photo courtesy Hewlett Packard)
Efforts of the International Trade Administration (ITA) and several other U.S. government agencies to curtail the international sale of counterfeit goods achieved a resounding success in May, when Kenyan customs officials intercepted a shipment of more than 140,000 fake Hewlett Packard (HP) packaging components and labels. The seized materials, shipped to the Kenyan port of Mombasa from China, represented a potential loss of $1.3 million in sales to HP.
The enforcement action by Kenyan customs officials coincided with a regional workshop on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) that was held in Nairobi May 17–20. According to Robert D. Moore, vice president for global security services at HP, the seizure of the fake goods came as a direct result of this conference. “During the event, HP received information on the shipment, and with the help of the U.S. government was able to bring together … four Kenyan enforcement agencies to agree on a swift course of action.”
The IPR workshop, which attracted approximately 100 participants, was organized by ITA, the Commerce Department’s Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP), other U.S. government agencies, and the government of Kenya. It included a two-day public-private sector portion that featured presentations on such topics as IPR enforcement strategies, public awareness campaigns, and capacity building. A session on the final day focused on how to spot fake goods, and included presentations from several U.S. companies, including Dolby Laboratories, Eminence Speaker LLC, HP, Microsoft, and Sara Lee.
Commercial diplomacy and education efforts such as the IPR workshop are among the key strategies deployed by ITA to support the long-term interests of U.S. companies doing business overseas. According to Michael Camuñez, assistant secretary for market access and compliance, “We employ such commercial diplomacy to resolve trade barriers and leverage our bilateral and multilateral trade agreements. This government-to-government action helps ensure that our trading partners live up to their commitments, and was particularly effective in this instance.”
John Ward is a writer in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs. Ludika Alvarez of ITA's Market Access and Compliance unit assisted with this report.
Through its network of domestic and international offices, the International Trade Administration (ITA) works to help U.S. businesses succeed in the global marketplace. This article is one in a series of stories that highlight recent U.S. export successes that benefited from services offered by ITA. For more information on export assistance programs offered by ITA and other federal agencies, visit www.export.gov.
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