President Obama hits counterfeits, sets up new unit video >>
January 31, 2012
“Tonight, I’m announcing the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trade practices in countries like China. There will be more inspections to prevent counterfeit or unsafe goods from crossing our borders. And this Congress should make sure that no foreign company has an advantage over American manufacturing when it comes to accessing finance or new markets like Russia. Our workers are the most productive on Earth, and if the playing field is level, I promise you – America will always win.”
President Barack Obama, January 24, 2012 State of the Union speech
In his State of the Union speech last week, President Obama announced a new government unit tasked with strengthening the U.S. border inspections for counterfeit goods and unfair trade (goods that violate international trading agreements).
It is the latest in the series of highly public statements and actions by the U.S. administration to take a stand against counterfeiting and illicit trade. While some have been abortive and all need to be sensitive to legitimate privacy concerns, others are having effect. These include
January 24 - Europol welcomed as a partner in the U.S. National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center with Europol, its first non-U.S. connection.
December 31 - Amendment 818 of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 calling for strict anti-counterfeiting requirements for defense contractors
August, 2011 - High profile arrests such as that of the microchip distributor VisionTech last summer
- February, 2011 - Vice President Biden’s White House conference on the subject last February, and the highly controversial and now withdrawn anti-piracy bills.
Counterfeit Seizures Sharply Up Again
It’s no wonder. Global counterfeiting is increasing in volume at a tremendous rate, according to a new report. Seizures in the U.S. in 2011 numbered 24,792, up 24% over 2010 (while value is down slightly, indicating a greater number of lesser-valued goods), moving into more varied businesses and ominously, at a greater rate into goods "that threaten health and safety," up 44%. A report by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is worth reading as a whole).
But the same problems that raise the urgency of confronting this crisis also make it more difficult to do so. Sheer numbers of incoming counterfeits can mask the truly dangerous ones. The complexity of the global economy is daunting to logisticians attempting to monitor and control their supply chains. And the apparent origin of much of the counterfeiting, an intransigent China, does not make things simpler.
Left: ICE counterfeit goods seizures, 2011-
by type of shipping method.
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