France has experienced a boom in seizures of counterfeits in 2020. Among them, many masks and medicines.
French customs announced on Monday that it had seized 5.6 million counterfeit items in 2020, 20% more than the previous year, including many masks and drugs, despite the slowdown in flows caused by the health crisis.
In addition to the usual luxury items, games, stamps and perfumes, customs have noted an increase in seizures of masks and drugs, ranging from “miracle cure” against Covid to traditional pills against erectile dysfunction.
Indirect effect of the lockdown and closure of barber shops: Customs also seized more hair clippers imitating expensive brands.
“Fraudsters are in perpetual search for new opportunities, we have seen since April with the proliferation of counterfeit masks and the total seizure since of 227,000 masks”, declared the Minister of Public Accounts Olivier Dussopt, since l Parisian airport of Roissy, where he announced the launch of a plan to fight against counterfeits, warning against the “economic, security and health” risks of these parallel markets.
The last few years have been marked by a sharp increase in counterfeits detected among small e-commerce parcels, which arrive in France by air, mainly from Asia.
The announced fight plan, which will involve enhanced cooperation with online sales platforms, aims to “streamline relations with e-commerce players to identify and dismantle traffic”.
It also provides for the strengthening of the mission of the “cyber customs officers” responsible for patrolling websites and social networks.
Brands are also invited to step up their requests for intervention with customs when they notice the sale of imitation products.
Counterfeiting represents, according to a survey by the OECD and EUIPO (the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office) in March 2019, no less than 3.3% of world trade.
At the European Union level, 6.8% of imports from the rest of the world are counterfeit, which corresponds to a tax loss of 16 billion euros per year.
France is the second most affected country by counterfeiting, after the United States and before Italy, according to Bercy. Customers of counterfeit items face a fine of twice the value of the original item . “It is an invitation to think before you buy,” said Minister Olivier Dussopt.
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