A highly contentious practice of Dubai Customs over the past few years has been the re-export of counterfeit products seized by Customs. We have learnt in a discussion with the director of the IPR Department at Dubai Customs that this practice will be discontinued in the coming months.

Although brand owners have complained about the re-export of seized counterfeit products for some time, the issue became the subject of greater scrutiny when a new Federal draft anti-commercial fraud law was released in 2013 which would have allowed the authorities to order the re-export of counterfeit goods to their source. After the passing of the law (but not its implementation) and after much adverse publicity about the issue, an amended draft law was issued in 2014 which, if implemented, would still permit the re-export of certain fraudulent products to their source but would require that counterfeit products be destroyed. The provision does not say where they must be destroyed but the recent comments from Dubai Customs indicate that they are going to be destroyed in the UAE (or rather, re-cycled).

Dubai Customs is now finalising an agreement with a re-cycling company in the neighbouring emirate of Sharjah and all seized counterfeit products will be sent to it for re-cycling. It is also expected that Dubai Customs will try to make the importer responsible for the re-cycling costs.