Police customs and regulatory enforcement officers from all over the EU gathered in Alicante, Spain from the 26-28 November for a major conference, organized by the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights (OHIM) and Europol.
Up to a quarter of all pesticides currently in circulation in some EU member states are thought to come from the illegal pesticides market.
The illegal trade in pesticides represents over 10% of the total worldwide pesticides market, and is highly lucrative – one single shipment can represent an illegal profit of over 1 million euros.
Representatives from enforcement agencies in 25 EU member states, plus Iceland, Croatia and Australia, joined industry and European Commission representatives to discuss the threat posed by these illegal products, and ways to counteract them.
Paul Maier, Director-designate of the Observatory commented: “This conference is a major event for the Observatory. Together with Europol, and with valuable input from our Commission colleagues, we´ve succeeded in bringing together key EU enforcement officials, industry experts and European policy makers. The information and best practice sharing that went on here over the past two days is an important step in tackling the problem of illegal pesticides in Europe. And it shows the added value that the Observatory´s cooperative structure can bring to issues like these”.
The Director of Europol Rob Wainwright said: “The trade in illegal and counterfeit pesticides is organized by highly sophisticated criminal networks. Criminals have developed complex global supply chains and exploit legal companies to camouflage their activities. It is important to tackle this growing crime especially because of possible health risks”
The conference was co-organised in conjunction with the European Commission, Eurojust, the European Union´s judicial cooperation unit and OLAF, the European Commission´s anti-fraud office.
NOTE TO EDITORS
The European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights was transferred to the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) by Regulation on June 5, 2012.
OHIM is the official trademarks and designs office of the European Union, headquartered in Alicante, Spain since 1995.
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