KUWAIT, June 2 – Interior Ministry Undersecretary Lieutenant General Suleiman Al-Fahad inaugurated here Monday the first regional conference of law enforcement bodies in charge of protecting intellectual property and countering trafficking in illicit goods and counterfeiting crimes in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

The three-day conference is organized by the Ministry of Interior in cooperation with the world’s largest international police organization (Interpol).

The goal of hosting such kind of conferences and the invitation of relevant international experts is to draw upon their expertise and success stories in fighting different kinds of crimes, especially those related to intellectual property and trafficking in illicit goods and counterfeiting, Al-Fahad said in the inaugural speech.

He said that the ministry of interior is keen on building its capacity to help create a comprehensive security system to counter these crimes through qualifying law enforcers and technicians and providing them with all the required skills and expertise.

Al-Fahad noted that the ministry dispatches officers to oversees training courses and organize their participation in relevant regional and international conferences, workshops and other events.

He argued that Kuwait has enacted various legislations to protect intellectual property rights and to fight trafficking or trading in illicit goods and counterfeiting crimes.

As a part of its strategy, the ministry plans awareness campaigns to educate the whole society about the importance of safeguarding intellectual property rights and countering piracy and trading in illicit goods, he said.

For his part, Assistant Director of Interpol’s Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting Unit Michael Ellis warned that this crime is growing rampant, causing negative impacts on consumers.

He noted that the Interpol is cooperating with national security agencies to counter such crime.

The Interpol is providing training and technical assistant to national agencies to help arrest suspects, fugitives and exchange of information, he said.

He expressed support and admiration of Kuwait’s strenuous efforts to protect intellectual property and fight trafficking of illicit goods and counterfeits.

Trafficking in illicit goods is a generic term used by Interpol to describe all types of illicit trade. It includes such practices as counterfeiting (trademark infringements), piracy (copyright infringements), smuggling of legitimate products and tax evasion.

Selling fake or counterfeit products as the real thing is one aspect of this crime; so is selling genuine goods on the black market to avoid paying taxes.

By avoiding regulatory controls the criminals behind these activities typically peddle often dangerous goods with a complete disregard for the health and safety of consumers.

The phenomenon has grown to an unprecedented level, posing tremendous risks to society and the global economy.