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Customs seize 11 million counterfeit cigarettes at Zeebrugge port
Customs and maritime police intercepted a container from China in Zeebrugge on Tuesday carrying 11 million counterfeit cigarettes, SPF Finance said. The shipment was bound for the United Kingdom.
The container was investigated by customs at the time of its transfer to Zeebrugge, the SPF Finance said. The declared goods were footballs. However, behind the balls were 11 million counterfeit cigarettes, branded Marlboro Gold, with Polish text.
This shipment of cigarettes represents €6.7 million euros of evaded duties, including import duties, excise duties and VAT, according to SPF Finance.
More than €700 million of counterfeit products, ranging from toys and games, to alcohol, perfumes, and medicines, circulate in Belgium, according to estimates from the European Union Office for the Protection of Intellectual Rights (EUIPO) in a new official report.
In Belgium, for companies in the medicines sector alone, the damage caused by counterfeit products is estimated at €325 million per year, and nearly €280 million for cosmetics (creams and perfumes) and personal care products.
Across the EU, the losses on sales for businesses as a result of counterfeit products flooding the market amounts to almost €19 billion per year.