Calls for Alibaba to be relisted as a 'notorious market'

A retail trade group has called for Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba to be relisted as a "notorious market" for selling fake goods.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA)claims, in a letter to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), that Alibaba fails to meet the USTR's recommendations to prevent the sale of counterfeits on its platforms, such as Taobao.

It urges the USTR to consider relisting Alibaba on the annual notorious market list, which the e-commerce firm was delisted from in 2012.

The trade group said fakes are "rampant" on Alibaba's platforms, and cited research by the Chinese government agency, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), that shows that as much as 67 per cent of goods sold on the Taobao platform are counterfeits.

"Despite numerous public statements that the company is taking the counterfeit problem seriously, we have yet to see improvements on Alibaba's platforms," said Rick Helfenbein, president and chief executive of the AAFA, which represents more than 1000 brands.

"USTR removed Alibaba from its list several years ago, on the condition that the company meet specific requirements going forward. Those requirements have not been met, and as a result American consumers and our members are paying the price."

A second trade group and anti-counterfeiting organisation Unifab, echoed the AAFA's calls and told the Wall Street Journal it was "high time" Alibaba be relisted.

"Despite a dialogue with Alibaba and years of negotiations, a tremendous amount of fake items can be found. No real proactive measures have been implemented," David Saussinan, spokesman for Unifab, said in an interview with the WSJ.

Alibaba has come under intense pressure recently regarding its approach to counterfeits being sold through its online platforms. A number of brands have criticised the e-commerce giant's lacklustre stance, with French luxury business Kering suing Alibaba for promoting counterfeit goods.

In May the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) was forced to suspend Alibaba's membership after a number of brands revolted. And just in September a consortium of retail trade bodies called on the e-commerce giant to make good on its commitments to clamp down on counterfeit listings on its websites, saying positive steps had been taken but there was failure to follow through on assurances.

Alibaba has responded to the latest calls to be relisted as a notorious market, saying it is committed to protecting intellectual property. It has also provided a submission to the USTR, listing the actions taken to fight fakes on its websites. In July the company unveiled a new online system to track and remove counterfeit products.

The USTR's notorious markets list is published annually to highlight "select online and physical marketplaces that reportedly engage in or facilitate substantial copyright, piracy and trademark counterfeiting."

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top