Global Trade in Fake Goods Worth Nearly Half a Trillion Dollars a Year – OECD & EUIPO

OECD report on global counterfeiting

A just-released report from the OECD and the EU’s Intellectual Property Office concludes that imports of counterfeit and pirated goods are worth nearly half a trillion dollars a year, or around 2.5% of global imports. U.S., Italian and French brands are the hardest hit, with much of the proceeds going to organized crime.

Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Mapping the Economic Impact puts the value of imported fake goods worldwide at US$461 billion in 2013, compared with total imports in world trade of US$17.9 trillion. Up to 5% of goods imported into developed countries are fakes. Although these products can originate from virtually all economies in all contents, most come from middle income or emerging countries, with China the top producer.

The report analyzes nearly half a million customs seizures around the world over 2011-13 to produce the most rigorous estimate to date of the scale of counterfeit trade. The estimated 2.5% of global imports comprising counterfeit and pirated goods represents a significant leap from earlier figures. A 2008 OECD study estimated fake goods accounted for up to 1.9% of global imports, although the current report acknowledges that the 2008 study used more limited data and methodology.

“The findings of this new report contradict the image that counterfeiters only hurt big companies and luxury goods manufacturers,” says OECD Deputy Secretary-General Doug Frantz. “They take advantage of our trust in trademarks and brand names to undermine economies and endanger lives.”

The report covers all physical counterfeit goods, which infringe trademarks, design rights or patents, and tangible pirated products, which breach copyright. It does not cover online piracy, which is a further drain on the formal economy. More investigations are needed to address the challenge, says the report, so that countries can individually and cooperatively design policy and enforcement solutions. Information on the magnitude, scope and trends of counterfeit and pirated trade is critical in to understanding the nature of the challenges. However, the report says, the current results do not include domestically produced and consumed counterfeit and pirated products.

Read the report online:

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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