WASHINGTON — Counterfeiting remains “widespread” in China, despite increased enforcement efforts, according to a report released by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office on Wednesday.
China once again topped an annual “priority watch list” from USTR as online sites selling bogus goods continued to increase, the report said.
“Although rights holders report increased enforcement activities, mostly but not exclusively on behalf of local brands, enforcement efforts have yet to slow the sale of counterfeit products online,” the report stated. “This is particularly concerning in light of the rapid growth of e-commerce both within China and between China and overseas markets.”
U.S. trade officials said rights holders report that Chinese officials often “confine their [enforcement] efforts to physical markets, despite the growth in e-commerce sales.”
The report did note that local Chinese agencies with oversight of counterfeiting have “called on online trading Web sites to improve procedures to address online sales of counterfeit merchandise.” But “these measures have not significantly deterred repeat and large-scale offenders who, after postings are removed, quickly place new postings offering the same infringing goods,” the report said. “It is reported that the Supreme People’s Court may issue a judicial interpretation to address these concerns.”
China continued to be the number-one source of counterfeit and pirated goods seized by U.S. authorities, accounting for 68 percent or $1.18 billion of the value seized in fiscal year 2013. Federal officials made 9,894 seizures of counterfeit apparel and accessories, valued at $116.1 million in the last fiscal year. China was joined on USTR’s priority watch list by Algeria, Argentina, Chile, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand and Venezuela.
USTR removed Italy from its watch list, citing the adoption of “long-awaited” regulations aimed at combatting copyright piracy over the Internet and an “overall improvement of the climate for IP-sensitive industries in Italy.” USTR also said Monday it was removing the Philippines from its watch list because the government enacted significant legislative and regulatory reforms aimed at enhancing and enforcing intellectual property rights.
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Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews