Figures released last week by the European Commission show that the number of interceptions of fake goods being imported into the EU increased in 2018. Almost 27 million items that infringed on intellectual property rights were found and stopped in 2018 with a street value of nearly €740 million.
The announcement quotes Pierre Moscovici, the Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, who said, "Customs officers across the EU have seen success in tracking down and seizing counterfeit goods that are often dangerous for consumers. Their job is made even more difficult by the rise in small packages entering the EU through online sales... need to continue stepping up the efforts against counterfeiting and piracy."
The report states that the top categories of detained articles were cigarettes, toys, packaging material, labels, tags, stickers, and clothing. Products for daily personal use in the home such as body care articles, medicines, toys and electrical household goods also accounted for nearly 37% of the total number of detained articles. The fact that counterfeit labels and packaging materials were high on the list is particularly notable given how those items are then used within the continent for further counterfeiting of goods already within the EU.
This issue directly affects businesses and consumers alike. The report notes that "sales losses for EU businesses due to counterfeit goods amount to €56 billion per year, corresponding to an employment loss of almost 468,000 jobs. Adding in knock-on effects on other sectors, total sales losses amount to €92 billion." However the financial strain on the economy is often second to the fact that these types of fake and illicit products do not undergo safety testing and can pose a risk to buyers.