Almost 7% of EU imports are counterfeit and pirate goods
The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development assessed data from nearly half a million customs seizures from a wide variety of international enforcement agencies.
“Counterfeiting and piracy pose a major threat to innovation and economic growth, at both EU and global level,” Executive Director of the EUIPO Christian Archambeau said.
Illicit trade has been growing significantly since 2013.
Most of the companies whose intellectual property was infringed are US-owned. However, five out of the ten countries most affected by piracy are EU states, namely France, Italy, Germany, UK and Spain.
Companies in other member states such as Luxembourg, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium are particularly targeted too.
India, Thailand, Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan and Vietnam are major producers of counterfeited goods. Nevertheless, China remains the top offender, responsible for over 50% of this type of illicit trade.
Hong Kong is responsible for 20% and Turkey also has a booming trade in illicit goods that is right on the EU’s doorstep.
These goods follow different paths before reaching their market destinations. In the case of products travelling to Europe, Albania, Egypt, Morocco and Ukraine are the main transit points, according to a previous report.
Footwear, clothing, leather products, technology and watches are among the most forged products but perfumery, cosmetics, toys and jewellery are also ripped off.
As many pharmaceuticals, food and drink, and medical equipment are also counterfeited, the authorities warned that there could be potentially serious risks for security and health.
[Edited by Sam Morgan]
EU loses €60 billion annually to counterfeits