The sale of counterfeit goods causes losses to Latvia of EUR 141 million per year

The European Union (EU) countries lose billions of euros every year from the sale of counterfeit goods. Not only do national budgets suffer losses, for example, in the labour market last year 2500 jobs were lost in Latvia.

Latvian Patent Office has launched a campaign “Counterfeit Reality” to inform the public about infringements of intellectual property rights and their harm not only to the economy and employment of the country, but also to human health.

Counterfeit products undermines the entrepreneurial investments into brand reputation and consumer trust. Latvian patent office communicated with more than 5,000 passengers at Riga International Airport to draw attention to the fact that it is advisable to make sure that goods or products chosen are not fake. As the Nordic countries and UK experience shows, Europeans often buy fake goods during traveling time.

There is a question remaining – why, however, the country loses a lot of funds in the budget every year? 70% of European Union (EU) citizens consider that no justification for the purchase of counterfeit goods is allowed. 63% say they would stop buying counterfeits if there were cost-efficient alternatives. At the same time, 35% admit that they are not able to determine if the product is genuine or counterfeit.

Industries with a high prevalence of illegal goods: clothing and footwear, cosmetics, alcoholic beverages, medicines, jewelery and watches. Counterfeit goods pass into Latvia mainly through online stores, but they are also in stores and in the market. In the European Union, the most fake goods are coming from China, Benin, Hong Kong, Montenegro, Turkey, India, Mexico and Malaysia. Fake mobile phones, accessories, hardware come from China and Hong Kong, fake clothes from Turkey, but medicines pass in from India.

Recent figures released by the European Commission indicate that the customs authorities seized more than 41 million counterfeit goods in 2016, with a total value of over EUR 670 million. Everyday products whose counterfeiting is even dangerous for health and safety, such as food, beverages, medicines, toys, household electrical appliances, accounted for more than a third of all intercepted goods.

Latvian Customs authorities points out that over the last few years, the sale of goods on the Internet has grown more and more, and the most commonly discovered counterfeit goods are goods found in post and courier packages. Biggest attention is paid to potentially dangerous goods such as medicines, electrical appliances, spare parts and cosmetics. It is a big risk to buy a product on Internet sales sites, because sellers in this case have a great chance to remain anonymous and not take responsibility for the sold goods.