Counterfeit products back in spotlight at Big 5 show

Germans stop short of saying fake products at Big 5, but stress the need for vigilance

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By  Eudore Chand Published  November 27, 2004

The issue of counterfeits, clones and ripoffs was again in the spotlight at last week’s Big 5 exhibition. Accusations flew from Europe in the direction of the East, especially towards China, which has acknowledged the problem and says it is taking steps to tackle the issue. Harald Muller, chairman and CEO of German firm Messe Munchen International, says that the source of copies is mainly China. “Chinese trade visitors are coming to our shows, taking pictures and a few months later we see copies of our products at exhibitions in China. That is illegal. We have a number of exhibitions in China and we face a problem with Chinese exhibitors who see our products and copy them,” he explains. The GCC seems to have been unwillingly roped into the row due to the fact that the two sides were both present at Big 5, and because of Dubai’s status as a re-export market. “As a trade hub for the whole region, Dubai is very attractive for business. This also makes it attractive to counterfeiters to distribute their products to different countries,” says Boris Abadjieff, a representative of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA). Germany and China were the two largest exhibiting groups at this year’s Big 5. Germany sent 160 companies, whilst there were 174 Chinese companies participating at the show, according to Santos Shen, executive general manager of Sinobal (Dubai China Centre for Promotion & Organising International Trade). “We are facing some copying in the Middle East,” Shen admits, but he says China, and Sinobal locally, are making serious efforts to eradicate the phenomenon. “Before a show like the Big 5, we inform all our exhibitors that they have to take this matter very seriously, that we have to improve our image and that we have to be very careful about intellectual property laws, which are meant to protect our companies and other companies.” Both the German and the Chinese officials agree that China is taking steps to curb the flouting of intellectual property rights laws. “Chinese customs has taken serious measures to see that copied products do not come to our markets in Europe. Though we still have the phenomenon, the efforts seem to be successful,” says Adadjieff. “We exhibit in China and we know that the Chinese authorities are taking serious measures,” adds Muller. “The source is China and measures must come from China.”

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