EU's Customs 2013 program to battle counterfeits


BRUSSELS -- A €324 million ($428.8 million), six-year program to fight fraud and counterfeiting at the European Union's borders received a green light Tuesday from the European Parliament.

The EU blueprint, known as Customs 2013, is expected to tighten procedures and clamp down on the smuggling of counterfeit products including DVDs, CDs and software.

The program is designed to protect copyrighted European products by strengthening border control procedures, and it aims to ensure customs officials are not distracted from the fight against fraud by routine bureaucratic procedures. To this end, a single European paperless electronic customs system, dubbed eCustoms, will be created for everyday crossings. It also will boost international customs cooperation with the latest tracking and exchange technology.

European parliament members said that increased globalization of trade and counterfeiting means it is imperative to ensure customs procedures are both swift and efficient.

The proposal includes measures designed to make the electronic customs systems of different EU member states compatible with each other; to introduce EU-wide electronic risk analysis and improve information exchange between frontier control authorities; and to introduce a centralized customs clearance arrangement.