France: Customs seizes millions of counterfeit goods

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French customs officials scored several remarkable strikes against trafficking in counterfeit goods. In total, customs have seized more than 1.5 million illegal items, including numerous counterfeit video game products, car parts, and electronic items.

As was released in late 2021, customs officials in France have achieved notable successes against the trade in counterfeit goods last year. With several enforcement actions, the authorities seized a total of more than 1.5 million items before Christmas. This includes a spectacular seizure of hundreds of thousands of products identified as counterfeit by well-known producers of video games and anime: Initially, customs investigators had identified almost 850,000 counterfeits in warehouses for online traders at the end of February 2021, based on investigations by the Direction Nationale du Renseignement et des Enquêtes Douanières (DNRED). This eventually resulted in a second operation by French customs in cooperation with five other EU countries and Europol in October and November 2021, during which authorities seized around 520,000 further counterfeits. The fake goods may also pose a health and safety risk, as they lacked NF and CE markings, choking hazard warnings, and age restriction logos, among others.

Olivier Dussopt, Secretary of State of the French government (ministre délégué chargé des Comptes publics), highlighted the European cooperation, which made the international crackdown possible. And stressed the importance of fighting counterfeiting: “I congratulate the customs officials for these remarkable seizures, which demonstrate the government’s will to fight counterfeiting. This fight is an important priority for French customs.”

In November 2021, further seizures of counterfeit goods by customs in France had already been released: For example, customs officials in Blagnac, in the Occitanie region of southern France, seized around 16,000 counterfeit telephone and automotive items in the region. The seized counterfeits included around 13,000 fake telephone components, approximately 1,200 fake batteries, and around 1,000 fake car keys. Well-known brands such as Samsung and Apple as well as Mercedes, Peugeot, and Volkswagen were affected. In Le Havre in northwestern France, customs investigators also thwarted the import of a total of 11,000 capacitors with counterfeit CE markings in October 2021.

Sources: Ministère de l'economie des finances et de la relance

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