Accessories top list of fake goods seized in EU in 2020

Intellectual property infringing products with a value of almost €2bn were seized in the EU’s internal market and at external borders in 2020, according to the latest figures from the bloc.

For the first time, the EU's annual report of seizures has been prepared jointly by the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and Directorate General for Taxation and Customs Union (DG Taxud), bringing together data from within the EU as well as at its borders.

Accessories were the most commonly intercepted counterfeit products in 2020 – both in terms of the number of items seized and their estimated value – followed by packaging materials, recorded CDs/ DVDs and labels, tags and stickers, and clothing. Together these accounted for around half f all intercepted goods.

The results were compiled from data supplied by police, customs and market surveillance authorities at the EU's external borders and in the internal market.

2020 was of course the year that the COVID-19 pandemic started to take hold, resulting in depressed trade during the first few months as fewer goods crossed borders, but the value of fake goods seized at the EU borders nevertheless rose 2.4 per cent to €778m in the year.

The average value of shipments rose however, as the total number of seizures was 27m, well down on the 41m held in 2019.

As in previous years, China was the main source country for the majority of counterfeit goods entering the EU across all product categories, with Hong Kong a key source of mobile phones and accessories, as well as labels, tags, stickers, and Turkey featuring prominently for clothing, medicines and clothing accessories.

Postal, express and air transport remain the most significant means of transport in terms of the number of consignments registered, and the main product categories were packaging materials – particularly for perfumes and juices – as well as foodstuffs and clothing.

There was a larger increase in the number of counterfeit goods stopped within the EU market, up 4.6 per cent to 46m, although the value fell from €1.8bn in 2019 to €1.3bn. The value figure has however been skewed by a number of factors, including notably the exit of the UK from the EU and other data gaps.

The products most detained in 2020 belonged to the subcategories 'other goods', clothing accessories, recorded CDs/DVDs, packaging materials and labels, tags and stickers.

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