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Parallel Importing Opportunity!

Import News from the Importers Institute: Parallel Importing Opportunity!

The Importers Institute knows of a possible opportunity for members interested in parallel importing: Vittoria bike tyres, made in Italy (www.vittoria.com).

How do we know that this could be a good opportunity? We suspect that the local agent, an outfit from Wanganui called Cycle Sport, may be charging a tad too much for the product. That company recently asked the Trademe auction website to remove several auctions for Vittoria tyres, on the grounds that they "entered New Zealand through an unauthorised importation."

A Mr Graeme Cox, a manager of Cycle Sport, went on to opine "only Vittoria products first purchased from us or an authorised reseller can be re sold into the New Zealand marketplace." Mr Cox claims to be acting on advice from A J Park, which would be surprising indeed, as that firm has a reputation as having some expertise in intellectual property law.

The fact is that parallel importing, in New Zealand, is perfectly legal. According to the Ministry of Economic Development (www.med.govt.nz), "Parallel importing" allows retailers, wholesalers and other parties to obtain goods subject to intellectual property rights directly from licensed or authorised overseas sources, rather than dealing with local suppliers, licensees or agents. The intent of parallel importing is to allow for the competitive supply of the goods in question."

By contrast, the clear intent of Cycle Sports in seeking to remove the auctions from Trademe, is to *prevent* the competitive supply of the goods in question. The gutless wonders from Trademe promptly complied with the company's official-sounding requests and removed the auctions from their website. The Commerce Commission has been invited to investigate this matter.

It is likely that the company is making some fat margins, if it dedicates so much effort to monitor sales on Trademe. Of course, one importer's fat margins are another (parallel) importer's opportunity. Have a look at www.cyclesportnz.co.nz, as it is probable that the same situation applies to several other brands imported by that company.

ends

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