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Import of counterfeit goods up four-fold in Russia in 2006

MOSCOW, April 25 (RIA Novosti) - Russian customs bodies uncovered 1,628 cases of imported counterfeit goods in 2006, up four-fold from 390 cases in 2005, Russia's Federal Customs Service said in a report Wednesday.

"Following just two special operations, customs police launched 130 administrative and 14 criminal cases, and confiscated up to 3 million items worth some 38 million rubles ($1.5 million) last year," the report reads.

According to Russian customs statistics, counterfeit clothing and footwear, especially the Adidas, Nike and Reebok brands, head the list of illicit imports, with foodstuffs, perfumes, alcohol and tobacco coming next. Pirated CDs and DVDs ranked fourth, followed by leather and artificial leather products, household appliances and pharmaceuticals.

Law enforcement agencies have estimated that counterfeit goods now account for 15%-17% of the Russian market.

On January 1, 2004, a new Customs Code came into force in Russia, stipulating tougher measures to protect intellectual property rights. In November 2006, the United States and Russia agreed on a binding blueprint for actions that Russia should take to tackle piracy and counterfeiting and improve the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. These are essential measures that could secure Russia accession to the WTO, and a priority for the Russian government.

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