Washington DC
09 June 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

US Customs launches anti-counterfeiting education campaign


US Customs and Border Protection has launched a new campaign aimed at informing the public of the “real dangers” of counterfeit goods.

The Global Intellectual Property Centre (GIPC) at the US Chamber of Commerce has supported the campaign, The Truth Behind Counterfeits, which will run at six of the busiest US international airports.

According to a report from GIPC, counterfeiting worldwide has become a $461 billion-per-year problem.

The 2016 report, Measuring the Magnitude of Global Counterfeiting, said that counterfeits had beaten previous estimates, doubling forecasts from 2008.

Figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) 2008 study estimated that counterfeit goods accounted for 1.9 percent of world trade, or nearly $250 billion. Now, the OECD estimates that figure at 2.5 percent or $461 billion.

Counterfeits now account for double the value of the 2014 profits of the world’s top 10 companies combined.

GIPC said that the counterfeiting industry is a “major cause for concern” and is fuelled by modern developments, such as the proliferation of internet use and social media platforms.

China alone was estimated as the source of over 70 percent of global physical trade-related counterfeiting. In comparison, the next largest venue for counterfeits was Hong Kong with just 14 percent.

“Counterfeiting has detrimental effects on industries as well as on economies,” the report said, “The direct impact of counterfeiting is the loss of revenue, which is estimated at billions of dollars for any given industry.”

“However, the indirect effects enhance the negative impact beyond the scope of industries to economies. The US Government Accountability Office has found that in the US counterfeiting has resulted in decreased innovation, loss of trade revenues, higher rates of unemployment, and overall slower economic growth.”

David Hirschmann, president & CEO of the GIPC, said that counterfeits could threaten US prosperity and jeopardise the health and safety of consumers.

He said: “America’s economy runs on authentic innovation … We applaud the US Customs and Border Protection for recognising the global scope of counterfeiting and the need to educate consumers on how to protect themselves.”

“We hope this programme will make travelers more aware of the significant problem and real dangers of counterfeit goods.”

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