How the US plans to clamp down on counterfeit goods

28 May 2021

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and US Chamber of Commerce have launched a joint initiative to “prevent the importation of counterfeit and pirated goods”.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the bodies aims to enhance the exchange of information concerning known or suspected intellectual property rights violations. 

The bodies said: “Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens America’s innovation economy, the competitiveness of US businesses, and the livelihoods of American workers. 

“In some cases, counterfeit goods contain components or chemical additives that can harm consumers’ health and safety. The proceeds from sales of counterfeit goods fund criminal organisations engaged in drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, financial crime, and other illicit activities.”

As part of the MoU, the organisations said they would conduct joint training sessions and outreach events to improve public awareness of efforts to disrupt the trade in counterfeit and pirated goods.

William Ferrara, executive assistant commissioner for the Office of Field Operations at the CBP, said: “This memorandum of understanding establishes a first-of-its-kind framework for public-private collaboration on combating counterfeit and pirated goods.

“Information sharing between CBP and the US Chamber of Commerce will strengthen our ability to defend intellectual property standards that generate American jobs, save lives, and enhance our economic prosperity.”

Last year, more than 26,500 shipments containing millions of counterfeit items were seized by the CBP, including personal protective equipment, pharmaceuticals, Covid-19 test kits, electronics, apparel, footwear, and jewellery. 

Suzanne Clark, president and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, said: “Business is proud to partner with law enforcement to prioritise solutions that eliminate counterfeit and pirated goods.

“Fake goods have real consequences, and consumers should have confidence they are getting what they pay for. Criminal networks are profiting from phony goods that expose Americans to potentially dangerous products, including illicit medicine, makeup, electronics, automotive parts, and toys, to name just a few.”

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