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Number of counterfeit items seized by EU customs down 24% last year

Translated by
Nicola Mira
today Oct 3, 2018
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Last year, EU customs seized 31.4 million units of counterfeit products, a 24.11% downturn compared to the previous year, while the number of seizure operations executed, at 74,706, was only 3.8% lower. This was a cause for concern at the French manufacturers’ anti-counterfeiting association, UNIFAB, which reminded that 115 million items were seized in 2011. Not surprisingly, apparel, footwear and watches remain very popular on the fake products market.

EU customs have seized handbags and leather goods worth €52.3 million last year - Shutterstock

Last year, EU customs officials seized €65.6 million worth of counterfeit clothes, €5.8 million in accessories, €47.3 million in trainers and €23.6 million of other types of footwear.

In addition, €171.4 million worth of watches, €57.5 million of jewellery and accessories, €52.3 million of handbags and leather goods, and €12.6 million worth of perfumes and cosmetics, all of course fakes.

Ranking of counterfeit goods categories, by number of articles and value - Taxud

Fake clothes amounted to 7% of the number of items seized, the fourth-ranked category after food (24%), toys (11%) and cigarettes (9%). China was again top of the list of the fake products’ countries of origins, with 73% of the goods seized, with another 10% coming from Hong Kong. They were followed by Turkey (4.2%), Vietnam (2.6%), Syria (2%), India (1.9%) and Egypt (1.4%).

The  most effective customs departments in terms of the number of articles seized were those of Lithuania, with 6.1 million items (+26%), France, with 4.2 million (+118%), and Romania with 3.03 million (-17%).

UNIFAB is worried by the decline in the number of fake goods seized Europe-wide. Numbers were indeed down strongly in Denmark (-98%), the Czech Republic (-92%), Croatia (-92%) and Sweden (-86%).

Seizures by product category and by country of origin - Taxud

“The [French] manufacturers association (...) is concerned about the decrease in the number of counterfeit goods seized by customs in Europe,” stated UNIFAB, whose president, Christian Peugeot, called for a greater mobilisation across Europe to stem this erosion. “The figures show that awareness [of this problem] in EU countries must be urgently raised, and the training of customs officials by member states must be intensified,” added Peugeot.

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