The European Commission released new figures today which show that over 31 million fake goods seized at EU borders in 2017 – this equates to a street value of over €580 million.
According to the Commission, fake and potentially dangerous goods such as healthcare products, medicines, toys and electrical goods make up an extremely high proportion of all goods seized at EU borders. Although the total figures released for 2017 are down from the previous year, the proportion of potentially dangerous goods seized is growing.
The most popular mode of transportation for counterfeit goods is via boats and shipping with 65% of all detained articles entering the EU via the maritime route, the number of fake goods travelling via boat is particularly high considering air transport – the second most common fake good transportation method – only carried over 14% of fake articles.
In light of the new statistics, Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs said: “the EU’s Customs Union is on the front line when it comes to protecting citizens from fake, counterfeit and sometimes highly dangerous goods. Stopping imports of counterfeits into the EU also supports jobs and the wider economy as a whole. The European Union stands in support of intellectual property and will continue our campaign to protect consumer health as well as protecting businesses from criminal infringement of their rights.”
What has the Commission done to reduce the number of fake goods reaching EU borders?
Last year the Commission released a set of measures to ensure that intellectual property rights are well protected in a bid to encourage European companies to invest in innovation and creativity. An overview of the measures put in place to reduce the number of counterfeit and fake goods at the borders include:
- Ensuring an equally high level of legal protection and a predictable judicial framework across the EU: New guidance provides clarification on how to apply the 2004 Directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights.
- Encourage industry to fight IP infringements: The Commission supports industry-led initiatives to combat IP infringements, including voluntary agreements on advertising on website, on payments services and on transport and shipping.
- Reduce the volume of counterfeited products reaching the EU market: The Commission wishes to reinforce co-operation programmes with third countries such as China and South-East Asia, creating a watch-list of markets that are reported to engage in or facilitate substantial IPR infringement.
Implementation of these measures has made it easier to increase border security, act efficiently against breaches of IPR, facilitate cross-border litigation, and tackle counterfeited or pirated goods being imported into the EU; the figures for 2017 highlights this with a decline in the total number of fake goods seized at the borders.