European Union Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”) press release – 22 February 2021:

A new EUIPO-OECD (“Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development”) study analyses the extent of the misuse of containerized maritime transport for trade in counterfeit products.

It shows that maritime transport remains a very important channel for the transport of counterfeit products, with China being the main source of counterfeits seized in containers.

According to this study, maritime transport accounts for more 80% of all goods traded globally.

On one hand, container ships offer new logistical possibilities, improve efficiency and reduce the costs of international trade. On the other hand, these are attractive advantages, especially for traffickers, who misuse container shipping to transport counterfeit goods.

Indeed, loading containers with counterfeit goods, as well as narcotics and other types of contraband is easy and represents a low risk, since less than 2% of containers are physically inspected.

Shipments sent by sea cover all types of counterfeit products, ranging from high-value electronic equipment to leather goods, clothing, cosmetics, toys and games, as well as pharmaceutical products and equipment.

The main shipments of counterfeit products come from East Asia, especially China and Hong Kong. Containers from China account for 79% of the total value of counterfeit containers seized around the worldwide.

Moreover, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are also among the major economies from which counterfeits traded worldwide originate.

As a reminder, the marketing of counterfeit products represented 460 billion euros in 2016, or about 3.3% of world trade. Imports of counterfeit and pirated goods into the European Union (EU) amounted to 121 billion euros, or 6.8% of EU imports.

Issues identified include the need to make counterfeits a key priority for Customs officers, who should have research and inspection techniques and tools that are better suited to detecting counterfeits.

EUIPO Executive Director, Christian ARCHAMBEAU said: “The increased concern over the counterfeiting of personal protective equipment and medicines resulting from the COVID-19 crisis has paved the way for significant progress in the fight against this illicit trade. We need concerted efforts to fight counterfeiting of all kinds, regardless of the route they take, in containers by sea transport, or in small postal packages. Counterfeits harm legitimate trade, are often dangerous and must become a priority again in the fight against international crime.



You can find the press relase (in French and in English) here.

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Zumbul Attorneys-at-Law