Anti-counterfeit measures 'insufficient', says OECD

Fake stampThe global trade in counterfeit goods reached a value of $461bn in 2013 - equivalent to the GDP of Austria.

The global trade in counterfeit goods reached a value of $461bn in 2013, according to a new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

That represents almost a doubling of the estimated $250m trade value in 2008, and means that counterfeit products now represent more than 2.5 per cent of all world trade and 5 per cent of all imports into the EU - a value of $116bn.

The rapid increase in five years suggests that "measures to fight counterfeiting have clearly not been sufficient," according to Jeff Hardy, director of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) initiative.

"If governments hope to stabilize the economy and stimulate economic growth and employment, they must do a better job to support the central role that IP plays in driving innovation, development and jobs," he added.

The OECD report - entitled Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Mapping the Economic Impact - concludes that most brands are hit by counterfeiting and counterfeit and pirated products originate from virtually all economies on all continents. However, China remains the biggest source of counterfeits for both international and domestic brands.

Supply chains are notoriously complex, but there are well-identified transport hubs feeding into Europe, namely Hong Kong, China and Singapore which are central to all world trade but also countries such as Afghanistan and Syria which have weak governance as a result of social disruptions.

Counterfeiters are also improving their logistics networks, manipulating transit routes, exploiting these governance gaps and taking advantage of the huge growth in eCommerce.

"The criminal networks involved in counterfeiting and piracy are responsive to changes in the marketplace," said Hardy.

"They exploit supply chains and free trade zones and are now taking advantage of the rapid move to online shopping."

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