Global sales of counterfeit and pirated goods have soared to $522 billion a year, amounting to a whopping 3.3 percent of world trade, according to a report published on March 18.
The latest assessment by the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the OECD found the share of counterfeit goods had seen a “considerable” rise since its previous 2016 estimate of 2.5 percent of global trade.
Such goods represented 121 billion euros worth of imports into the European Union alone – a massive 6.8 percent of total imports into the bloc, up from five percent in 2016, EUIPO said in a statement.
“Counterfeiting and piracy pose a major threat to innovation and economic growth, at both EU and global level,” EUIPO executive director Christian Archambeau said.
He said that the “deeply concerning” rise “clearly calls for coordinated action, at all levels, to be fully tackled”.
The companies most affected by counterfeiting and piracy are mainly based in developed OECD nations like the United States, Japan, South Korea and EU states, the report said.
But businesses in China, Brazil and Hong Kong are being increasingly hit, it added.
The countries exporting the most counterfeit and pirated goods were China, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Singapore, Thailand, India and Malasysia.
The report was based on data from almost half a million customs seizures by international enforcement agencies.