Counterfeited and pirated goods accounted for up to 2.5 percent of world trade, or as much as $461 billion, significantly damaging companies and state coffers, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said on Monday. The trade in fake products, such as Louis Vuitton bags (a counterfeit bag is pictured above) or Nike shoes, has also worsened in the past decade, with a previous OECD study in 2008 estimating it at up to 1.9 percent of world imports or $200 billion.
The impact of counterfeiting is greater for rich countries - where most of the companies making the highly desirable branded goods are based - with the European Union importing up to 5 percent of fakes in 2013, or as much as $116 billion, according to the OECD's report. Entitled, “Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Mapping the Economic Impact,” the OECD says the study, which is based on about half a million customs seizures around the world between 2010 and 2013, is the most rigorous to date.
The Paris-based think-tank said China appeared as the largest producer of counterfeited products, but that the intellectual property rights of Chinese companies had also been frequently infringed. The OECD cited the post-financial crisis revival in trade, the emergence of globalized value chains and booming e-commerce as reasons for the rise in pirated goods trade since 2008. Moreover, the OECD revealed in its study that Nike is the most heavily targeted brand in the world when it comes to counterfeits. The OECD has identified the U.S. as the country whose intellectual property rights are most infringed, and noted that while fakes appear in every sector, footwear was the most counterfeited category.