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Dubai on track to seize record number of counterfeit goods

Counterfeit goods Renaud Khanh/ABACA via Reuters Connect
Dubai Customs has seized 10.7 million counterfeit items so far this year
  • Dubai likely to seize millions more counterfeit items in 2023
  • 176,000 fake items have already been recycled this year
  • Emirate is processing 10% more customs transactions than last year

Dubai is likely to seize millions more counterfeit items in 2023 than in 2022, according to the latest data from Dubai Customs.

The emirate’s customs agency has seized 10.7 million counterfeit items — worth AED 53.277 million ($14.5 million) — so far in 2023, compared with 15 million for the whole of 2022. Dubai Customs made 1,059 seizures and filed 908 customs cases.

In the first six months of 2023, Dubai Customs handled 194 intellectual property disputes, which is exactly half the figure for the whole of 2022.

In line with World Intellectual Property Organization guidance, counterfeit and IP-infringing items are recycled where possible.

In the first half of 2023, 176,000 items representing 65 global trademarks were disposed of in this way — more than the 173,000 recycled in the whole of 2022.

The emirate runs IP awareness campaigns and has warned in schools, universities, and communities about the negative impact of IP infringement and counterfeiting.

According to 2020 data from the UAE’s Federal Customs Authority, seizures of counterfeit clothing across the Emirates by the federal agency accounted for 36 percent of all operations, with footwear and electronics making up 15 percent each.

Watches and jewellery accounted for 7 percent, and fake pharmaceuticals for 5 percent.

Overall, Dubai Customs is processing more customs transactions than in previous years.

It cleared 14 million customs transactions during the first six months of 2022, a 10 percent increase from the 12.7 million transactions registered in the same period last year. 

Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, director general of Dubai Customs and CEO of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said: “Dubai Customs is facilitating the automation of customs procedures, improving business operations, and boosting commercial returns, all of which are attracting more investments and businesses to the commercial sector.”

He added that its systems allow Dubai customs to process “about 80,000 transactions per day”.

Dubai Customs also revealed that business registration service transactions have increased 7 percent, recording 143,000 service requests.

Customs declarations stood at 12.3 million transactions, accounting for 88 percent of the total number of customs transactions.