Watchdog agencies need more resources to thwart counterfeit goods –manufacturers body

The Guyana Manufactur-ing and Services Asso-ciation (GMSA) says that government must make available adequate resour-ces to the Government Analyst Food and Drugs Department and the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) to stem the flow of counterfeit and uncustomed goods on the local market as this could erode the gains made to promote products manufactured locally.

The GMSA has been working with its Canadian partners (TFO and CESO) and the Caribbean (Caribbean Export) to promote the manufacture of Guyanese products that meet high international quality standards, according to a press release.

“The issue of inferior counterfeit products flooding the local market constitutes unfair competition and product dumping,” the Association said. “This has the potential to erode the quality gains already made particularly by our micro and small scale entrepreneurs, and ultimately, it could cause long lasting damage to the viability of Guyana’s accredited distributors.”

The Association plans to engage the Guyana Revenue Authority to address complaints of counterfeit importers under-invoicing their shipments, and to request that the thorough screening given to outgoing containers be similarly given to incoming cargo in order to identify the importers of imitation products.

According to the GMSA, Guyana seems to have fallen victim to the much wider range of counterfeit products, including prescription drugs and other health and beauty products outside the ambit of ANSA McAl and Proctor and Gamble. Authorised local distributors have been battling this problem for more than two years.

Their principals in North America and Europe have also instituted legal proceedings against a few illegal importers here while the food and drug department and the GNBS have seized and destroyed bogus products from local supermarkets, groceries and other retailers. The GMSA said that these products included stocks of expired Golden Cream Margarine that were packaged in differently labelled containers which did not originate from manufacturers, Sterling Products Limited. An authorised distributor of food importers also identified a major supplier of imitation canned foods located in Ruimveldt, Georgetown and made a legal approach.

Another distributor of industrial equipment in-cluding the STIHL line of machinery, saw name plates being switched from some fake items after the company, Farfan and Mendes, lodged a complaint, the press release said. Farfan and Mendes also discovered items on sale that were similar to the STIHL products that had been branded SPILL. Closer examination re-vealed that the counterfeit items were made with inferior materials that could cause injury to users.

As such, the GMSA is calling on “every business support organisation, every regulatory and social grouping (NGO) to confront this scourge and bring it to an end.

The ramifications of it being allowed to continue include a severe contraction of entrepreneurship in Guyana.”

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