India on 5th place in fake goods trade; China on top

London: India is the fifth biggest exporter of fake goods globally, while China is on the top with a huge 63 per cent share in the estimated half-a-trillion dollar worldwide imports of counterfeit and pirated goods.

China is followed by Turkey, Singapore, Thailand and India among the top-five countries from where most fake goods originate, as per a new study by the OECD (Organisation Economic Cooperation and Development) and the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office.

China-made products accounted for 63.2 per cent of total seizures of fake imported goods globally, while the second- ranked Turkey’s share was just 3.3 per cent.

The same for Singapore, Thailand and India stood at 1.9 per cent, 1.6 per cent and 1.2 per cent, respectively.

Among the countries hit hardest by the global trade in fake foods, the US comes on the top and is followed by Italy, France, Switzerland and Japan in the top-five.

“Imports of counterfeit and pirated goods are worth nearly half a trillion dollars a year, or around 2.5 per cent of global imports, with US, Italian and French brands the hardest hit and many of the proceeds going to organised crime,” OECD said about the new study that takes into account the latest available figures till the year 2013.

The study puts the value of imported fake goods worldwide at USD 461 billion in 2013, compared with total imports in world trade of USD 17.9 trillion.

“Up to five per cent of goods imported into the European Union are fakes. Most originate in middle income or emerging countries, with China the top producer,” it added.

The report, which analysed nearly half a million customs seizures around the world over 2011-13, further said that its findings contradict the image that counterfeiters only hurt big companies and luxury goods manufacturers.

Fake products crop up in everything from handbags and perfumes to machine parts and chemicals, while footwear is the most-copied item though trademarks are infringed even on strawberries and bananas.

“Counterfeiting also produces knockoffs that endanger lives auto parts that fail, pharmaceuticals that make people sick, toys that harm children, baby formula that provides no nourishment and medical instruments that deliver false readings,” it added.

OECD said emerging economies tend to have the infrastructure for large-scale trade but often suffer from governance gaps and may lack the institutions and enforcement capacity to effectively tackle counterfeiting.

“While China is the top provenance of fake goods, its most innovative companies also fall victim to counterfeiters,” it said.

Postal parcels are the top method of shipping bogus goods, accounting for 62 per cent of seizures, reflecting the growing importance of online commerce in international trade.

“The traffic goes through complex routes via major trade hubs like Hong Kong and Singapore and free trade zones such as those in the United Arab Emirates. Other transit points include countries with weak governance and widespread organised crime such as Afghanistan and Syria,” it said.