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.