U.S. Customs seizes $5.3M in counterfeit products entering P.R.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) San Juan Field Operations announced the seizure of 289 shipments of counterfeit products imported into Puerto Rico via international mail or courier before the holidays.
The estimated manufacturer suggested retail price of all the counterfeit products seized is $5.3 million. The domestic value of the purchased merchandise is $309,686, the agency said.
“Purchasing knock-offs of high-end, high-demand products online does have an impact on the local economy,” said Leida Colón, the CBP’s assistant director of field operations for trade.
“Unfair and illegal competition dislocates appropriate local business activity, with clear negative effects on local consumers, governments and the potential economic recovery,” she said.
Among the fraudulent merchandise CBP officers seized are watches, jewelry, bags, clothing and sunglasses that were illegally using known brands such as Google, Rolex, Hublot, Gucci, Louis Vutton, Pandora, Tous and Nike, among others.
“The manufacture of counterfeit goods robs legitimate businesses of revenue, robs American workers of jobs, and poses health and safety threats to U.S. consumers,” the agency said. “Oftentimes, the proceeds from counterfeit merchandise sales supports other nefarious and illicit businesses.”
CBP has an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement program, which targets and seizes imports of counterfeit and pirated goods and enforces exclusion orders on patent-infringing and other IPR goods.
Despite these efforts, the internet has made it easy to find, purchase, and ship items from almost anywhere in the world. With a high demand for well-known brands, many online vendors sell counterfeit products online, infringing on various trademark holder’s rights and revenues, the CBP said.
The merchandise category with the highest number of IPR seizures continued to be wearing apparel and accessories, resulting in approximately 15% of all IPR seizures in Fiscal 2018, the agency said.