Trump signs executive order on counterfeit trade

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that aims to prevent counterfeit products from overseas from being sold to US citizens via online retail sites.

The order delivers on a memorandum published by the White House last year, which pledged to crack down on counterfeit goods being sold on platforms like Amazon, eBay, Alibaba and

It instructs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to consider “appropriate measures” to make sure e-commerce sites – as well as third-party intermediaries such as customs brokers, fulfilment shippers, and express consignment carriers – take steps for monitoring, detecting, and preventing trafficking in counterfeit and pirated goods.

That includes drawing up rules to help identify individuals and companies that have been previously banned from importing products into the US and are trying to get around the restriction, as well as those with a high rate of contraband goods among their shipment history, which would lead to closer scrutiny and more frequent inspections.

Part of the policy focuses on preventing powerful opioid drugs like fentanyl from entering the US market and fuelling the ongoing epidemic of painkiller abuse afflicting the country.

There is also a requirement for the US Postal Service (USPS) to tighten up links with overseas mail services to help prevent contraband entering the US, and develop safety signals for suspect packages that could contain narcotics and other illicit goods.

“The trafficking of counterfeit and pirated goods is a scourge that causes significant harm to our workers, consumers, intellectual property owners, and economy,” commented US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

“The Trump Administration is continuing to show strong leadership in stopping those who steal American intellectual property and seek to profit off of counterfeit products.”

Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf is also instructed to provide a report to the President within 90 days detailing how Customs and Border Protection (CBP) plans to meet the order. The Trump administration sought comment on its proposals from industry and other stakeholders last summer.

In 2018, CBP seized $1.4bn in intellectual property-infringing goods, up from $1.2bn in 2017, with the total number of seizures reaching almost 34,000.

Clothing and accessories topped the table, followed by footwear, watches and jewellery, handbags/wallets and consumer electronics.

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