Search

 

Cablegate: Nigeria: Customs and Standards Organization Enthusiastic

VZCZCXRO6580
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #2295/01 3261130
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 211130Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4518
INFO RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 0305
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0048
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 002295

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT PASS TO USTR-AGAMA AND GARDE; PTO FOR HICKEY; LOC FOR USCO
PPINHA; AID FOR GWEYNAND AND SLAWAETZ
TREASURY FOR PETERS, IERONIMO AND HALL
DOC FOR 3317/ITA/OTA/OA/BURRESS AND
3130/USFC/OIO/ANESA/HARRIS
DOJ FOR MKOUAME

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KIPR EINV ETRD ECON EAID NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: CUSTOMS AND STANDARDS ORGANIZATION ENTHUSIASTIC
TO PROTECT IPR

REF: A. ABUJA 2177
B. ABUJA 2146
C. LAGOS 405
D. ABUJA 1364
E. ABUJA 1039
F. 07 ABUJA 2059

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - NOT FOR DISTRO OUTSIDE USG.

1. (SBU) Summary. During the USG Intellectual Property Working
Group (IPWG) October 27-28 visit to Abuja, Nigeria intellectual
property rights officials expressed appreciation for USG technical
assistance (TA). While enforcement remains weak, some agencies are
enthusiastic to work with the USG to protect IPR. The GON's failure
to adequately fund agencies has slowed progress. GON IPR officials
agree that interagency cooperation and stakeholders buy-in is
important to reducing IPR violations. The World Bank and European
Commission are also providing support and are interested in working
with the USG to improve coordination. This is the second of two
reporting cables on the visit. End Summary.

2. (U) On October 27 and 28, 2008 the IPWG met with Nigerian IPR
officials to discuss progress in protecting IPR. The framework for
these ongoing discussions is the Trade and Investment Framework
Agreement (TIFA) between Nigeria and the U.S. The IPWG was led by
Tanuja Garde of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and
included Carrie LaCrosse of EEB/TPP/IPE and Tim Browning of the U.S.
Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). On October 27 the IPWG met
with the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and the Trademarks,
Patent and Designs Registry of the Nigerian Ministry of Commerce and
Industry (reftel A). On October 28 the IPWG met with the Nigerian
Customs Service (NCS), the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON),
the President of the Performing Musicians Employer's Association of
Nigeria (PMAN), the Economic Section Chief of the European
Commission and the Lead Economist for the World Bank in Nigeria.
.
Nigeria Customs Service Eager to Cooperate
------------------------------------------
.
3. (SBU) The U.S. IPWG met with NCS Comptroller General H. B. Ahmed.
Ahmed acknowledged all the training assistance provided by the USG
to support the NCS in improving IPR knowledge and awareness and
requested more since NCS is eager to cooperate. He reported that
the August 18-19 USG sponsored Optical Disk Workshop helped build a
partnership between NCS and International Federation of the
Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and that now IFPI will work with NCS on
forensic investigations. He noted that Nigeria's new trade policy,
effective only in the last few months, empowers the NCS to seize
counterfeit products and prosecute counterfeiters unlike in the past
when the only counterfeit product recognized in Nigeria's trade
policy was counterfeit coins. Ahmed stated that though the new
trade policy has been released, customs will face challenges in
implementing the policy, because his officers will require training
in product identification and info from rights owners on
distinguishing features of their products. NCS is organizing
meetings with the private sector to discuss partnering on this
training. Ahmed noted that NCS needs to devise a road map providing
a vision for a way forward on IPR enforcement, and he welcomed the
idea, proposed by the IPWG, that benchmarks should be included in
such a road map.

4. (SBU) Despite progress in some areas, Ahmed lamented that his
officers have few IPR enforcement skills and there is need to
improve IPR awareness among the rank and file. NCS plans to expand
the NCS IPR unit from 17 members, which are drawn from various NCS
commands in the country. Following introductions by Econ Section at
the USG sponsored IPR Workshop in June 2008, NCS met with British
American Tobacco and Nokia and has established collaboration to
improve identification of distinguishing features on their products
to seize the counterfeits (reftel D). NCS also requested USG
assistance in creating a records database for products in
collaboration with the rights owners. This will assist in
identifying genuine products and their imitations. Browning of PTO
responded the he would investigate PTO possibilities to provide
assistance. Of note was a comment by NCS Deputy Comptroller, Grace
Adeyemo, that NCS's attention was first drawn to IPR issues at the
July 2006 TIFA Council Meeting in Washington, and that it was
DOS/INL-funded IPR training in 2007 that helped move the NCS to

ABUJA 00002295 002 OF 003


develop their specialized IPR Unit, which she now leads.

5. (SBU) Ahmed expressed his concern with the constant influx of
counterfeit textile products imported from China and presented the
IP WG with several confiscated samples to examine. He stated that
the illegal smuggling of textiles into Nigeria has contributed to
the almost total collapse of the Nigerian textile industry (reftel
F). Ahmed underscored that NCS will energetically combat piracy and
is optimistic that new prosecutorial powers granted in the updated
trade policy will have a major effect in protecting IPR. NCS
officials reported that cooperation between NCS and officials from
the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and National
Police Force (NPF) was good but cooperation with NCC was poor. NCS
is considering organizing GON interagency policymaking on IPR since
the NCC has been slow to respond. NCS reported that in June 2008 it
intercepted three planes in Lagos that were carrying pirated CDs and
turned over the investigation to the NCC, but is unaware of progress
on prosecutions.
.
Standards Organization of Nigeria
---------------------------------
.
6. (SBU) Dr. John Akanya, Director General of the Standards
Organization of Nigeria (SON) thanked the USG for including SON
officials in IPR workshops in 2008 and noted that his staff have
benefited from it. Akanya expressed interest in further involvement
in USG technical assistance activities.

7. (SBU) Akanya complained about the constant influx of sub-standard
products into Nigeria, especially from China. He reported that he
recently held discussions with the Chinese Ambassador and
underscored the negative effects of sub-standard Chinese imports
into Nigeria, which have led to many deaths and injuries
(particularly from poor electric wiring and equipment). Akanya
hopQto sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese
government in order to get Chinese cooperation.

8. (U) Sub-standard products are imported into Nigeria and local
manufacturers also produce sub-standard products. In response SON
requires product certification to ensure that products either
produced locally or imported pass the required quality assurance
tests before they are sold to consumers. For imports the Standards
Organization of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Program (SONCAP)
certification was introduced and is administered on behalf of SON by
Intertek of the United Kingdom. Intertek is responsible for
certifying that the imports meet the quality assurance standard.
Moreover, Mandatory Conformity Assessment Program (MANCAP)
certification was introduced for domestic products to ensure that
they meet the required quality assurance standards.

9. (SBU) When SON intercepts fake products it seizes them and then
destroys them in public, and sometimes aired on national television.
Akanya highlighted that SON does not have the power to prosecute,
but refers such cases to the office of the Attorney General for
prosecution.

10. (SBU) Akanya emphasized that inter-agency collaboration remains
the key to combating piracy and counterfeiting. He opined that if
the NCS could do its job of policing Nigeria's border posts
effectively there would be a significant reduction in the number of
fake and sub-standard products entering Nigeria. In addition, he
said that NCS needs more training and to expand public awareness
efforts to explain that using fake products may kill, maim or injure
people and destroy property.
.
European Commission Not Focused on IPR
-------------------------------------
.
11. (SBU) Belen Calvo Uyarra, Head of the Political, Economic,
Trade, Information, and Communication Section of the European
Commission (EC) stated that slow progress has been recorded in
negotiating the European Union Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)
with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). She
attributed this to lack of experience among ECOWAS members; however,
there seems to be an agreement between the EC and ECOWAS on the IPR
component of the EPA. Uyarra reported that while the EC had tabled
five IPR-related papers (Innovation, TRIPS, GIs, Enforcement,
Capacity Building) there has been little progress in the IPR

ABUJA 00002295 003 OF 003


discussions. She commented that the EC has had some success in
negotiating IPR in the EPAs, most notably in the Cariforum EPA IPR
Chapter.

12. (SBU) Uyarra also noted that the EC plans to assist ECOWAS in
IPR capacity building and public awareness. Regarding Nigeria, she
mentioned that the EC is holding discussions with the National
Planning Commission to define areas of cooperation. She confirmed
that the EC assistance package for Nigeria is about Euro 570 million
($719 million) including a Euro 60 million ($75 million) trade and
regional integration program, which would involve conducting a trade
needs assessment for Nigeria, supporting Nigeria in implementing
trade reforms agreed with ECOWAS, and supporting Nigeria in
implementing the EPA. Uyarra concluded that it is important for
donor agencies to coordinate their activities in order to achieve
the set objectives and avoid waste of resources.
.
World Bank Providing Limited Assistance
---------------------------------------
.
13. (SBU) Volker Treichel, Lead Economist for the World Bank in
Nigeria, said the WB is spending nearly $140 million on economic
reforms and governance issues in Nigeria. Of that figure $500,000
is going to the NCC for training, medium term strategy development,
creating a web page and assisting with the IPR institute on
copyrights. (Note: A U.S. citizen law student enrolled at
Vanderbilt University is interning with NCC and working at the IPR
Institute. End Note.) Treichel commented that so far cooperation
has been good with NCC and the projects are on track. He said the
medium term strategy has been completed by NCC, and expects the
webpage to be ready by December 2008. Treichel noted that the WB
has plans for a larger trade facilitation project and that the USG
should contact Anca Dumitrescu at WB HQ in Washington to discuss
possible linkages with USG assistance. (Note: In particular, the WB
trade facilitation project in Nigeria has a strong customs focus,
aimed at streamlining customs processing. Improved Nigerian customs
capacity - increased computerization, training, and infrastructure -
could serve two goals - speeding up the processing of legitimate
goods, while improving their ability to stop the flow of
illegitimate goods. End Note.)
.
Bottom Line - More Needs To Be Done
-----------------------------------
.
14. (SBU) Comment: USG-supported IPR training has led to more GON
interagency cooperation and an increased IPR focus from GON
agencies. Nonetheless, enforcement efforts and IPR public awareness
are both woefully inadequate. The Mission is in the process of
unveiling a public diplomacy IPR awareness campaign via public
service announcements. Both the NCC and Registar's office have
benefited from USG TA and the Mission has seen positive results at
the Registrar's office with timelier processing and sharing of
information. NCC has yet to show much progress, especially
considering the large number of personnel that have participated in
USG TA. Without effective enforcement and prosecution from the NCC,
Nigeria will continue to maintain its status as a haven for IPR
pirates. GON IPR agencies also need to improve on the enforcement
of IPR to justify USG spending on IPR capacity building in Nigeria.
End Comment.

15. (U) The IPWG cleared on this message.

16. (U) This message was coordinated with ConGen Lagos.

SANDERS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


WMO: Another La Niña Impacts Temperatures And Precipitation – But Not Climate Change
La Niña has developed for the second consecutive year and is expected to last into early 2022, influencing temperatures and precipitation. Despite the cooling influence of this naturally occurring climate phenomenon, temperatures in many parts of the world are expected to be above average because of the accumulated heat trapped in the atmosphere...
More>>


UN: Violations Of Palestinian Rights Puts Two-State Solution At Risk, Chief Warns
The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, continues to pose a significant challenge to international peace and security, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, said on Monday... More>>



Oxfam: Afghanistan Faces Multiple Crises

ActionStation, Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand, Christian World Service, Oxfam Aotearoa and World Vision New Zealand say that while Afghanistan faces chronic poverty, persistent droughts, war, the Covid-19 pandemic and an economic crisis, winter is about to bring a whole new set of challenges...More>>




World Food Programme: Millions More In Need Of Food Assistance As A Direct Result Of Conflict In Northern Ethiopia

The number of people in need of humanitarian food assistance across northern Ethiopia has grown to an estimated 9.4 million as a direct result of ongoing conflict, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today... More>>


Food: Three Billion People Cannot Afford A Healthy Diet

Approximately three billion people, almost 40 per cent of the world’s population, cannot afford a healthy diet and another one billion people would join their ranks should further unpredictable events reduce incomes by one-third, the UN food agency said, launching a new report on Tuesday... More>>

COP26: Enough Of ‘Treating Nature Like A Toilet’ – Guterres Brings Stark Call For Climate Action To Glasgow
As the World Leaders Summit opened on day two of COP26, UN chief António Guterres sent a stark message to the international community. “We are digging our own graves”, he said, referring to the addiction to fossil fuels which threatens to push humanity and the planet, to the brink, through unsustainable global heating... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC