A report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union’s intellectual property office (EUIPO) has found that there has been a rapid increase in the amount of fake merchandise sold around the world because of the proliferation of online platforms for buying and selling goods. The report claimed that the total value of the fake goods is about $590bn a year.
As much as 3.3 per cent of total international trade in 2016 was accounted for by illicit goods, which ranged from designer handbags to luxury watches, the report found. The number in 2013 was 2.5 per cent of total international trade.
The report also stated that during the period for which the report was made had witnessed a drop in global trade volumes, which indicates that there had been a rapid increase in dealings in fake goods. The report was based on the latest available seizure data from customs of the European Union and a number of other border security and controlling forces across the world.
Items of footwear topped the list of the most frequently seized fake products while other popular fake items in the list included clothing, leather goods and IT equipment, stated the report based on data gathered from customs officials. The most preferred way of shipping of fake and counterfeit products during the study period was postal parcels.
Guitars, jewellery, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, spare parts, luxury watches, food and drink, and medical equipment were among some of the other seized fake and counterfeit items.
The increase in proliferation of technologies for making online sell and purchase has increased the opportunity for trading in fake goods. The report noted that there was particularly large impact of the “digital platforms which help connect supply and demand globally” in the boost of fake goods.
The report also claimed that there had been a “dramatic increase in the number of parcels crossing borders” as the delivery of counterfeit goods shifted from being delivered in large bulk packages to smaller packages shipped over road, air and sea routes.
China has been identified to be the largest sources of counterfeit goods by quite a distance from other countries and the country has also been identified to be at the centre of a complex web of other countries which are used for shipping of fake goods. Even though considerably behind China, other countries of origin of fake goods included India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.
In nine out of 10 categories, China was identified to be the top source of fake goods. The report further claimed that footwear was identified to be the most popular of the fake goods category and about 27 per cent of all of the fake goods seized under this category had their sources of origin in China.
One of the largest allegations China brought in by the United States president Donald Trump is the alleged theft of intellectual property which was one of the reasons for the current trade war between the countries.
Marcos Bonturi, the OECD’s public governance director, said: “Counterfeit trade takes away revenues from firms and governments and feeds other criminal activities. It can also jeopardise consumers’ health and safety.”
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)