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China blasts ‘irresponsible’ US report naming it top market for fake and pirated products

China has criticized the US’ latest list of ‘notorious’ counterfeiters as ‘irresponsible’ and lacking in objectivity. The move comes after Washington dubbed six online and nine brick-and-mortar Chinese platforms as violating US trademarks and copyright laws in its 2021 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy.

‘China rejects the findings of the report and opposes the US’ irresponsible actions sternly,’ the commerce ministry said Friday night. According to the US Trade Representative, the list included two new entrants from China – AliExpress and WeChat. They join Baidu Wangpan, DHGate, Pinduoduo, and Taobao, which had been on the list for years. Alibaba Group owns Taobao and AliExpress, which are parts of Alibaba Group.

The report indicated that AliExpress and Taobao had some of the best anti-counterfeiting tools, but they were selling more fake goods, as well as making it more difficult to remove dodgy sellers from the sites. Approximately US$29.2 billion is lost to global counterfeiting each year, and China is the largest exporter of fake goods, according to the report.

China’s Ministry of Commerce responded on its website that counterfeiting and piracy had long been a problem in the United States. In a statement, the ministry expressed regret that the US administration frequently used the Notorious Markets Report as a weapon to accuse other countries of counterfeiting and piracy. The report pointed out that China ranked 12th on the World Intellectual Property Organization’s 2021 Global Innovation Index, and urged the US report to ‘facilitate an objective evaluation of the Chinese government’s efforts and progress in protecting intellectual property rights, in order to avoid undue negative impact on Chinese enterprises’.

According to the report, fake clothes, electronics, footwear, and fashion accessories were the top fake goods seized by US customs, with China as the top country of origin. ‘The operators know their activities are illegal, so they take measures to evade detection,’ the report said. This report cites Chinese-made masks and other Covid-19 protective equipment produced in ‘unsterile conditions, including sweatshops previously used for other types of counterfeit goods’.

In a new report released Thursday, it found that WeChat – known as Weixin in China – had become a convenient tool for purchasing counterfeit goods globally. The company achieved this task by creating ‘seamless’ links between its social media channels and e-commerce sites selling sham goods, as well as its ‘Moments’ and ‘Mini programs’. In many cases, punishment is little more than a brief suspension, the report said. Despite its removal, Baidu Wangpan was cited for sharing pirated films on a large scale.

DHGate, which sells counterfeit goods wholesale to companies outside China, has added five inspectors and 3,400 keywords that are flagged by its vetting process. However, numerous complaints have been filed.┬áSince 2010, Washington has broken out the Special 301 review – a review of global intellectual property rights – separately to highlight foreign violators.

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