Counterfeit products cost EU billions each year

Counterfeit products cost EU billions each year
Credit: Belga

EU States and industry lose billions of euros each year due to the presence of counterfeit goods on the market, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) said in a report published on Wednesday.

EU States lose up to €15 billion annually from uncollected direct and indirect taxes and unpaid social contributions by illicit manufacturers.

The cosmetics and personal care sector, the wine and spirits sector, the pharmaceutical industry and the toys and games sector lose up to €19 billion in sales in the EU each year due to counterfeiting, according to EUIPO estimates.

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In particular, sales losses in the cosmetics and personal care sector have increased by more than €2.5 billion since 2019, the highest increase among the sectors studied by EUIPO.

About 14.1% of cosmetics and personal care sales (€9.6 billion) are lost each year in the EU due to counterfeit products.

In Belgium, the figure is 11.9% or €279 million of sales lost each year, an increase of €76 million since the last estimate.

Of the dangerous counterfeit products identified and intercepted at the EU's external borders, 97% have been identified as posing a serious risk to consumers, according to EUIPO analysis.

Most of the products involved were intended for children, such as toys, childcare articles or children's clothing.

"Counterfeit products deprive legitimate businesses of part of their sales and public authorities of indispensable revenue,” said EUIPO Executive Director Christian Archambeau. “And, as our collaboration with Europol shows, the proceeds of counterfeiting can also finance serious forms of organised crime. To tackle this, concerted international action is needed at all levels.”

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