Counterfeits account for 1.5 per cent of China's GDP

China and Hong Kong were the source of 86 per cent of counterfeits intercepted in the US, Europe and Japan between 2010 and 2014, according to the US government.

All told, 72 per cent of counterfeits came from China - equivalent to $285bn out of a worldwide physical counterfeit trade value of $461bn, says the US Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC). Hong Kong accounted for 14 per cent, about the same as the rest of the world put together.

A new GIPC report says that represents that 12.5 per cent of China's exports, and 1.5 per cent of its GDP, and suggests that - despite China's efforts to tackle physical counterfeiting and intellectual property (IP) related crime - the country still has a massive problem.

The figures are taken from the CoC's 2016 International IP Index, which ranks the economies of 38 countries in terms of IP protection. To arrive at the figure for each country the report authors look at the value of seized goods and extrapolate a total value based on variables such as the level of corruption in a country, patent, copyright and trademark protections and the potency of enforcement agencies.

The report also suggests that all other countries around the world produce a half per cent or less of the total physical counterfeits in circulation. Moreover, the value of goods seized ($5.2bn) by customs authorities across the 38 countries is estimated to be as little as 2.5 per cent of the total estimated value of counterfeits.

"Our report indicates that the value of goods seized is only a small percentage of the total $461bn in global trade-related counterfeiting," commented Mark Elliot, executive vice president of GIPC. "This signals the need for increased resources for more effective enforcement efforts," he added.

Aside from China and Hong Kong, other key source markets include Ukraine, India, Russia, Turkey, Argentina and Thailand.

The report also cites estimates that deaths resulting from counterfeit products among the G20 economies bear an economic cost of over $18bn, with an additional $125m spent on treating counterfeit-related injuries.

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