A counterfeit, on a strict definition, is something that is forged, copied or imitated without the perpetrator having the right to do it, and with the purpose of deceiving or defrauding. This phenomenon has several scaring consequences at economic, social and environmental level…
7 top countries of origin or provenance of counterfeits traded in Europe (2001)
- Counterfeiting is a black economy. It has become pandemic, accounting for an estimated US$456 billion, or 7% of global trade, in 2003, according to the World Trade Organization; (1)
- in 1990- 2000, revenues derived from counterfeiting and piracy have increased by more than 400% while growth in legitimate trade was about 50%;
- counterfeiting has major repercussions not only at an economic and social level (jobs loss, sweatshops, child labour, etc.), but also in terms of consumer protection, especially as regards public health and safety;
- in 2003, 70% of the amount of counterfeit and pirated goods seized by customs authorities in Europe originated in Asia. Products from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong made up 78% of the fakes seized by customs in the United States in 2002;
- it is well know that the most counterfeit goods originate from Asia, but even that is changing. Russia is next on the list, producing an estimated 5% of the total of black market goods;
- of the industries hardest hit at world level, mention may be made of the data processing industry (35%), the audio-visual industry (25%), the toy industry (12%), the clothing and footwear industry (11%), the perfume industry (10%), the pharmaceutical industry (6%), the clock and watch industry (5%), the phonographic industry and the motor industry. In the software sector, the piracy rate has reached 46% at world level;
- in Europe, between 1998 and 2002 the number of counterfeit or pirated articles intercepted at the EU's external frontiers increased by more than 800%. According to statistics published on February 2005 by the European Commission, there was been a further significant increase of counterfeit or pirated articles in 2003: customs officials seized almost 100 million such, an overall 9% increase compared to the previous year. The number of cases involved in these seizures increased by almost 41%; (2)
- counterfeiting is also becoming a hobby and careerfor younger, less educated individuals. The average age of a counterfeiter is 34 (clothing & accessories), 36 (entertainment & software), 33 (financial instruments), 31 (identification), 47 (other documents). In 20% of the cases simple methods are used to duplicate the items. 12% of entertainment and software is reproduced with standard computers, CD and DVD burning equipment. 25% of counterfeit food and alcohol products are manufactured by purchasing expired stock and repacking as new items. (3)
|Turkey || 8|
|Hong Kong|| 5|
|other countries || 36|
(1) This includes a wide range of products going from medicines to clothing and footwear, from cigarettes to software, from aircraft and vehicle parts to music & multimedia products, from cosmetics to toys.
(2) These numbers are probably just the top of an iceberg. EU customs are physically able to inspect no more than 3-5% of all cargo passing Community borders.
(3) Gieschen Consultancy, DOPIP Security Counterfeit Intelligence Report, February 2005; [www.goldsec.com/Alleged_Counterfeit_Suspects_Entities.htm]