The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, has called on workers of the various textile companies to desist from the unlawful trading of some textile designs to their agents outside the country.
He said the practice was unacceptable and undermined the growth of the same textile industry that the government was working with the public to protect.
“I have information which alleges that some workers of the textile companies engage in the unlawful trading of some of these designs to their agents in China and India,” he said.
Mr Iddrisu asked those engaged in the practice to stop and support efforts at protecting the country’s textile industry.
He made the call at a stakeholders’ forum on the national crusade against the trade in pirated Ghanaian textile designs and trademarks in Accra yesterday.
The forum, which was organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), brought together some members of the various security services, textile traders and associations, representatives of the Ghana Standards Authority, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, among others.
Among others, the forum was to educate the stakeholders on the need for them to join forces to halt the practice.
In June, 2012, the Anti-Textile Piracy Task Force was set up to check the importation of pirated Ghanaian textile prints into the country.
The task force confiscated 1,035 pieces of pirated textiles made up of both fancy and wax prints which were later destroyed to serve as a deterrent to others.
Mr Iddrisu said the trade in pirated textiles, particularly the designs and trademarks, was not only an infringement on intellectual property but also facilitated the illegal importation of pirated textiles into the country.
He said there was no government policy that was seeking to ban the importation of textiles into the country, explaining that the government was rather seeking to regulate the entry of all textiles into the country through defined and designated routes “in order that we have improved statistics and control illegal importation”.
Mr Iddrisu said it was unacceptable for some custom officials to argue “naively” that they could not distinguish between pirated and legitimate textiles.
“Your title, as I understand, is Customs, Excise and Preventive Service. Customs because you bring us some import taxes, excise because you monitor what is produced locally and preventive because you must stringently monitor and control the borders and not permit the entry of all unacceptable pirated textiles into the country,” he said.
He urged them to exercise their preventive mandate that gave them the authority to help the government deal with the menace of pirated textiles.
Mr Iddrisu advised the traders not to import pirated textiles and urged them to make their country proud and show patriotism.
He impressed on them that they could deal in genuine textiles and still make profit.
Speaking on behalf of the traders, Mr Joseph Tetteh, a member of the Agbate Textiles Traders Association, said it was about time the local manufacturers made their registered designs public and educated traders on how to differentiate them from the pirated ones.
For his part, the Sales and Marketing Manager of the Akosombo Textiles Limited (ATL), Mr Stephen Dutton, said even though the company would be 60 years this year, it would not be able to celebrate the anniversary because of the lack of funds.
He attributed the company’s situation to the influx of pirated textiles, a development that was hindering the business of the company.
He pledged that ATL would join in the effort to contain the importation of pirated textiles.
Mr Dutton, however, denied claims that workers in the textile industry traded designs to their counterparts elsewhere, asking, “What benefit would it be for us when we engage in such acts?”
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