The top categories of articles stopped by customs were medicines (24%), packaging material (21%) and cigarettes (18%).
There has been an eighteen-fold increase since 2001 in numbers of incidents where articles are detained. Much of it is due to the rise of e-commerce which has seen an increasing number of small packages sent by mail. Over half the cases where products were intercepted in 2011 (56%) involved transport by post or mail courier.
But larger sea and road shipments still account for the vast majority of total articles. There has not been a similarly dramatic and sustained rise in the overall number of articles intercepted, which are "only" 21% up on 2001, despite an increase of 11.7 per cent in numbers and 18 per cent in value in 2011. Numbers remain well down from the peak of 179 million in 2008.
Most of the fake goods continue to come from China, which accounts for 73% of the total number of articles in 2011 – or over 80% if Hong Kong is included.
Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Anti-fraud and Audit said: “Customs is the EU's first line of defence against fake products which threaten the safety of our citizens and undermine legal businesses. Today's report shows the intensity and importance of the work being done by Customs in this field. I will continue to push for even greater protection of intellectual property rights in Europe, through our work with international partners, the industry and Member States."