WeChat, the dominant social network in China, and AliExpress, the popular online retail platform, were for the first time placed on the US blacklist of “famously reputed markets” for selling counterfeit goods and infringing intellectual property rights.
The US listed “42 online marketplaces and 35 physical marketplaces involved in or facilitating trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy”, the US Trade Representative, said Thursday. in a press release accompanied by a 50-page report.
The list includes for the first time the online sales site AliExpress (Alibaba group) and the messaging platform WeChat, “two important Chinese online marketplaces”.
The 2021 Notorious Markets List also identifies 42 online markets and 35 physical markets that are engaging in or facilitate substantial trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy. This includes identifying for the first time AliExpress and the WeChat e-commerce ecosystem, two significant China-based online markets that reportedly facilitate substantial trademark counterfeiting
Although inclusion on the blacklist does not translate into sanctions, it does tarnish the reputation of the websites or countries that appear there. “China is the main country of origin for counterfeit goods; seized by US customs and border protection services,” the report authors say.
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US Trade adds Aliexpress and WeChat to Notorious Markets List for counterfeit and pirated goods
It is also denounced the fact that China produces “the largest number of goods manufactured using forced (illegal) labor; including forced labor organized by the State and child labour”.
“The global trade in counterfeit and pirated goods undermines US innovation and creativity and harms American workers;” Ambassador Katherine Tai said in a statement. Furthermore, illicit trade exacerbates “the vulnerability of workers involved in the manufacture of counterfeit products; with abusive work practices”, she added.
Finally, counterfeit products can pose a risk to the health and safety of consumers; says the report by the US Trade Representative.
In terms of health risks, particular reference is in place to protective equipment against Covid-19. Products that should protect against the virus are in production under non-sterile conditions; which includes factories previously used to produce other types of counterfeit products”, it details.
Still originating in China, the list includes online markets Baidu Wangpan, DHGate, Pinduoduo and Taobao; as well as nine other physical markets.
From a more positive point of view; Katherine Tai’s office highlights the efforts of some countries in the fight against counterfeiting; citing Thailand, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates. The United States Trade Representative’s blacklist launches annually since 2011.