The EUIPO, through the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, and together with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) publishes studies and research on the global trade in counterfeit and pirated products, analysing the impact on the economy, and the share of international trade affected by the phenomenon.

In particular, the main goal of this study series is to assess quantitatively the value, scope and trends of trade in counterfeit and pirated tangible products.

The latest study in the series, Misuse of containerised maritime shipping in the global trade of counterfeits, analyses the scale of misuse of containerised maritime transport for trade in counterfeit goods. Over the past decades, containers have become the universal means to aggregate goods into standardised, uniform cargo, and maritime transport continues to be a major channel for the shipping of counterfeit goods.

 

Heightened concern over counterfeit personal protection equipment and medicines as a result of the COVID-19 crisis has opened a window for significant progress to be made in countering this illicit trade. We need a concerted effort to combat fakes of all kinds, on all routes whether by sea in containers or in small postal packets.

Christian Archambeau, Executive Director of the EUIPO

  

Main findings

  • Sea transport accounts for more than 80% of all merchandise traded internationally. Container ships boost efficiency and reduce the costs of international trade, but they can also be misused to transport counterfeit goods.
  • Seizures of fakes shipped in containers represent a relatively low proportion of the total number of seizures, but they account for 56% of the total value of seized counterfeits.
  • The main counterfeit shipments are from East Asia, especially China and Hong Kong (China), accounting for 79% of the total value of containers containing fakes seized worldwide.
  • Global trade in counterfeit goods amounted to EUR 460 billion in 2016, or around 3.3% of global trade. Counterfeit goods accounted for 6.8% of goods imports into the EU from third countries, worth EUR 121 billion.
 
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