Fake Ferragamo shoes worth $4.3m seized in California

US customs officers intercepted thousands of fake Ferragamo shoes last month that have been valued at $4.3m.

The seizure at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport complex by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers involved 7,800 pairs of loafers and other fashion shoes - bearing counterfeit Salvatore Ferragamo trademarks - that arrived in two separate shipments from China on July 20.

Florence, Italy-based Ferragamo has been battling counterfeiting of its footwear, bags and other accessories for years, and took the fight to the fraudsters earlier this year when it started adding radiofrequency identification (RFID) tags to some of its goods, allowing them to be both authenticated and tracked through the supply chain.

The tags allow customers to check the authenticity of products in store with their smartphone, see videos and other information about an item and add products to a personalised wish list. They are also intended to help buyers of genuine Ferragamo products get the best price if they subsequently decide to sell them on.

"The quantity and value of counterfeit merchandise seized is a clear indication of the profits that are involved in the illegal trade of luxury goods," said the CBP in a statement. Sergio Espinosa, CBP acting port director of Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport, referred to a "proliferation of counterfeit luxury footwear, potentially damaging our national economy."

Approximately $1.35bn worth of counterfeit goods originating overseas were seized by CBP in fiscal year 2015. China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Romania, and Turkey were the top five source countries.

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