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Drop in fake goods entering UK
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Published on 05-08-13

The number of fake goods seized by UK customs dropped by 13% in 2012, but the UK still had some of highest reporting figures in the EU according to the latest annual report on customs actions.  Counterfeit packaging, clothing, perfumes, cosmetics, toys and parts and accessories for mobile phones accounted for 75% of the 4,032,550 seizures in the UK.

    Drop in fake goods entering UK

    Italy recorded the highest number of articles seized (6,108,760) - a drop of 80 per cent on 2011 figures - followed by Malta (6,065,155), Spain (3,140,722), Germany (2,470,331) and Belgium (2,310,620).

    Customs officials are the first line of defence against fake products entering the EU and during 2012 they intercepted almost 40 million products suspected of violating intellectual property rights.  This is less than in 2011, but the value of the intercepted goods is still high, at nearly £867m (€1bn). As in previous years, China continues to be the main source of fakes.

    Cigarettes (30.86 per cent) were the most frequently detained item across the EU. Other goods including bottles, lamps, glue, batteries and washing powders accounted for 11.76 per cent and packaging materials 9.84 per cent.

    Most fake items (70 per cent) were detained through postal services and courier packages, with medicines accounting for 23 per cent.

    Whilst China continued to be the main source of most faked goods, Morocco was the top source for foodstuffs, Hong Kong for CD/DVDs and other tobacco products (mainly electronic cigarettes and liquid fillings for them), and Bulgaria for packaging materials.


    EU Customs play a crucial role in stopping products which are suspected of violating intellectual property rights from entering the EU. Since 2000, the Commission has been publishing an annual report on the activities of customs in relation to enforcing intellectual property rights. These reports, based on data transmitted by the national customs administrations to the Commission, are a valuable input to the analysis of IPR infringement in the Union by customs and for EU institutions like the Observatory on infringements of intellectual property rights.

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    Last update: 06/08/2013  |Top