MILAN — The impact of trade in fake Italian products is still strong and significantly hitting the country’s economy.
According to two reports issued by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, and Indicam, Italy’s institute fighting against counterfeiting for the protection of intellectual property rights, the value of counterfeit and pirated Italian goods sold worldwide in 2016 totaled 32 billion euros, equivalent to 3.6 percent of global Italian manufacturing sales.
The OECD study “Trade in Counterfeit Goods and the Italian Economy: Protecting Italy’s Intellectual Property” was issued in August and presented during a conference held Monday at the headquarters of the Lombardy region here to raise awareness of the issue among high school students.
Weighing in on the impact of counterfeit trade in Italy, the research underscored fake imports were worth 12.4 billion euros in 2016 and included mostly ICT products, leather goods, handbags, toys and apparel, translating into 7.9 billion euros of lost sales for the country’s wholesalers and retailers, equivalent to 3.8 percent of total sales that year.
In terms of market shares, the biggest losses were registered in the watch and jewelry category, which reportedly lost 16.7 percent in sales. The counterfeit trade also hit the apparel, footwear and leather goods categories, whose aggregated loss accounted for 6.1 percent of their sales.
Both studies focused on the estimated wasted job positions as a result of counterfeit trade, which in 2016 totaled 88,000 units in the country, 17,000 of which were in the Lombardy region alone. The former equals 2.1 percent of Italian full-time employees.
In addition, fashion products — including clothing, footwear and leather goods — have topped the list of the categories for which intellectual property rights of Italian companies have been violated the most, with counterfeit items coming mostly from China, Hong Kong and Turkey, accounting for 61, 18 and 7 percent, respectively.
The Indicam research also took into account data on seized goods in 2017 in the Lombardy region alone, which show a slight improvement compared to the previous year. Seized goods reached 3,209 units in 2017, accounting for 23 percent of confiscated products in the country, compared to 3,657 the year before. The top three categories of fake products withdrawn from the market included watches and jewelry, accessories and apparel.
As reported, OECD estimated the total value of fake Italian goods sold worldwide in 2013 at more than 35 billion euros.