(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi customs officers underwent a three-day training over the weekend at the Customs Training Center in Riyadh in a move to step up the campaign against counterfeit products.
"The knowledge gained will be shared with the border police and used to detect whether goods entering the Kingdom are fake or not," one of the lecturers, who requested anonymity, told Arab News on Saturday.
If the Saudi Customs Office detects a counterfeit product, it is possible to initiate criminal or civil proceedings to obtain a seizure of the consignment.
The lecturer talked on how a counterfeit product from his company could be detected. "This training has been held a number of times before and was attended by representatives of local companies to shed light on how to detect fake products," he said.
The lecturer gave the example of a shoe company, who has its products in packages. "If not, you can assume that the products being delivered to them from the Kingdom's borders are fake," he said. He added that there are also numbers on the package of genuine products. If these don't match with those of packages entering the Kingdom's borders, then they are fake.
"Company representatives enlightened the trainees on the exact details of their products, so that they could distinguish which are genuine and which counterfeit," he said.
He added that a computer product is fake if it's known to be coming from Jeddah, but the product being delivered is from other parts of the Kingdom.
A source said that Saudi Arabia had become a hotspot for counterfeit goods because of its growing stature as a business hub, adding that there had been large seizures of fake products.
"Wherever you have an emerging market, there is a market growth for everybody. Wherever you see the combination of a trade hub and a growing economy, you will see counterfeiters," he said.
Scott Butler, CEO of the Arabian Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAA), said in a statement, "Pirate activities have already resulted in huge losses to the Saudi economy, with studies indicating that reduction of piracy rates could have potentially yielded up to 1 billion in GDP in the past two years."
The Ministry of Culture and Information has coordinated with the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the Arabian Anti-Piracy Alliance to stamp out counterfeiting or piracy.
Since it does not have police powers, the BSA, represented in the Kingdom by Mohammad Al-Dhabaan, reports individuals or companies using or trading in pirated products to the Ministry of Culture and Information.
The AAA collaborated with the ministry in the first arrest and conviction of a Saudi trader of pirated products some time ago. The Saudi trader was fined SR 150,000 and jailed for 10 days.