Elgar Intellectual Property and Global Development series
Edited by Nari Lee, Niklas Bruun and Mingde Li
Chapter 19: Customs enforcement of intellectual property in Europe and China
Customs enforcement of intellectual property rights ranks high in the facilitation of trade between the EU and China. For the EU, the reason is simple: protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights is important not just for the competitiveness of its industry abroad, but also for the creation of jobs and the safety of its citizens. For China, it is to attract foreign investment and foreign technology. Both the EU and China have in place regulations on customs enforcement of intellectual property rights. However, in order to effectively enforce the rules and to facilitate cooperation between both customs authorities, the EU entered into a bilateral agreement with China in 2004, when they signed the ‘Agreement between the EU and the Government of the People's Republic of China on cooperation and mutual administrative assistance in customs matters’. This chapter (1) compares how customs authorities from both sides manage large and small consignments of imported goods in the application of the customs regulation; and (2) discusses the role that EU-China customs cooperation concerning intellectual property rights plays in aiding the interaction of norms. The chapter concludes that relations between both parties is a dynamic social process and may be both cooperative and also contain seeds of conflict. Due to this dynamic relationship, both parties are confronted with some structural and functional similarities, as well as differences concerning the interaction of laws from both sides. Nevertheless the decision-making on intellectual property between the EU and China is becoming increasingly Europeanized. This is partly due to concerted efforts on the part of China to meet international expectations, and also, as a consequence of the strong institutional and resource base of the EU Commission, who negotiate these agreements. Even so, China, as a norm taker, has been cautious in adopting these rules in ways that fit its economic, social and political interests and this therefore leaves room for uncertainty as to which direction this cooperation will take.
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