6 August 2020Muireann Bolger

Border police seize counterfeit Louis Vuitton belts in Kentucky

US  Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Kentucky have discovered a shipment of counterfeit Louis Vuitton products valued at nearly half a million dollars.

The officers intercepted a parcel of 216 belts from Hong Kong on July 28 that was destined for Atlanta, Georgia. If the items had been genuine, the total value of the shipment would have been $453,600. Chief CBP officer Brian Lick said: “CBP officers in Louisville are committed to protecting the US consumer, the economy, and the facilitation of legitimate business. The sad reality is that counterfeiting is linked to crimes such as terrorism funding, human trafficking, and child labour.”

According to the CBP, in 2019 officers seized a  daily average of $4.3 million-worth of products that violated IP rights. CBP officers and  Homeland Security Investigation agents  seized 27,599 shipments containing counterfeit goods during 2019, down from 33,810 seizures in 2018.

However, the total value of the seized goods, if they had been authentic, increased to more than $1.5 billion from nearly $1.4 billion in 2018. China and Hong Kong remained the primary source for seized counterfeit and pirated goods, accounting for 83% of all seizures and 92% of the estimated value of all seizures.

China is still considered  the world’s biggest source of counterfeit goods, and has been identified by the  European Commission as the country with the most “persistent and longstanding problems” in relation to IP protection and enforcement in its “ Report on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries”.

According to the CBP, e-commerce sales contributed to large volumes of low-value packages imported into the US. During 2019, there were 144 million express shipments and 463 million international mail shipments.

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