WASHINGTON – The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) has included certain Amazon marketplaces in a submission to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), seeking to identify foreign markets that facilitate the sale of counterfeit goods.
In addition to the theft of intellectual property, the environmental risks posed by cheap, poorly-made imitation garments are considerable due to no regulations or standards being adhered to when sourcing materials or applying finishes.
The AAFA submission is part of USTR’s 2018 Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets, designed to identify foreign marketplaces – both physical and online – that are believed to engage in and facilitate substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting.
The AAFA has identified the domains of amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom), amazon.ca (Canada), and amazon.de (Germany) in its submission as being at risk of facilitating trade in counterfeit goods.
Rick Helfenbein, AAFA president and CEO, explained: “Identifying the sale of counterfeit products is crucial to our ongoing efforts to defend American intellectual property, American jobs, and American consumers. The annual review of Notorious Markets by the Office of the United States Trade Representative is essential in this process.
“As in years past, we focus on marketplaces that put our members at a significant disadvantage by selling a substantial amount of counterfeit goods that may not meet safety regulations and contribute to damaging intellectual property.”
Fake goods continue to be a thorn in the side of the apparel sector, with the environmental efforts of some firms undermined by counterfeit versions of their sustainably-manufactured garments flooding online marketplaces.
Transparency and traceability have long been discussed as essential elements of apparel sector reform, with platforms such as QR-tex, developed by Switzerland-based Kryptino, having been established to empower brands in the fight-back against counterfeit products.
“Counterfeiters continue to develop new ways to sell their illegal goods and we hope that the companies listed in our submission will be vigilant in their efforts to prevent illicit activities taking place on their platforms,” Helfenbein continued.
“Amazon has been a leader of, and has made valuable contributions to, the future of retail. We believe Amazon can, and should, be a leader in the fight against counterfeits.”