President Donald Trump today directed a clutch of government agencies to investigate how counterfeit and pirated goods get into the U.S. and the procedures and policies of businesses that may facilitate their arrival and sale to consumers. The order directs the agencies to review and collaborate with online third-party marketplaces, carriers, custom brokers, payment providers, vendors and others involved in international transactions, to come to its findings.
The memo directs the findings of the inter-agency federal investigation to be delivered before the end of the year. The Department of Homeland Security is tasked with coordinating the effort.
“Existing efforts within the Federal Government to deter online trafficking in counterfeit and pirated goods through third-party intermediaries should be expanded and enhanced to better address the scale, scope, and consequences of counterfeit and pirated goods trafficking,” the memo reads. Read the executive order.
The order cites a Government Accountability Office report that found more than 40% of a small sample of goods in frequently counterfeited product categories were fake. The products in the sample set were purchased on online marketplaces.
Amazon.com Inc., the operator of the largest online marketplace in the U.S. by sales and No. 3 and in the ranking of Internet Retailer Online Marketplaces globally, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the order.
Alibaba Group Holdings, the No. 1 online marketplace operator in the world, provided a statement on the order.
“We welcome this new initiative and the attention it brings to the global fight against counterfeiting. Alibaba has developed best-in-class systems to protect IP and battle the scourge of counterfeiting. This work takes place through substantial collaboration with brands, law enforcement, trade associations and consumers, both on our platforms and offline at the criminal sources of production and distribution. We look forward to further advancing the working relationship and cooperation that we have with the U.S. federal agencies mentioned in today’s order, as well as with our global commerce peers.”
A spokesman for eBay Inc., No. 5 in the Internet Retailer Online Marketplaces and the second-largest marketplace in the U.S., provided similar support. “Counterfeits are not welcome on eBay and we’re committed to combating their sale. Using a combination of technology, enforcement and strong relationships, eBay has consistently been an industry leader in working to stop the online sale of counterfeit goods, which is a global issue – both online and offline. We look forward to enhanced collaboration among NGOs, law enforcement and online marketplaces to stop this illegal trade.”
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