China behind two-thirds of all fake EU customs seizures

BRUSSELS, July 22, 2010 (AFP) - China was the source of 64 percent of all counterfeit goods seized at European Union borders last year while 73 percent of all fake medicines impounded came from the UAE, a EU report said Thursday.

From 118 million articles intercepted at ports and other entry points by EU customs in 2009, at least half in some categories and as much as 90 percent in others came from China, the European Commission customs report said.

They included shoes (90 percent from China), electronic goods (81 percent), clothing items (72 percent), cosmetics (47 percent) and toys (31 percent).

Cigarettes and tobacco together accounted for 35 percent of all fake goods held, the vast majority of which arrived through ports with heavy Chinese investment such as in Greece and in Italy, the report said.

The figures were revealed by the European Commission in an annual report on EU customs enforcement of intellectual property rights. An EU source said taxation commissioner Algirdas Semeta would raise the issue with the Chinese during a visit next month.

The United Arab Emirates, meanwhile, emerged as having a near-monopoly on seized fake medical products including condoms, a combined category that accounted for one in 10 of all counterfeit seizures.

Egypt was behind 63 percent of electronic goods seizures and Turkey 57 percent of alcohols, the report said.

Asked about the implications of fake medicines and other items including auto parts entering the region, a commission spokesman said it was "not part of (customs') tasks to test if products are dangerous."

However there was an "increase of products that are potentially dangerous," the official said.