Authorities in Italy observe a rapid development in the trade of counterfeits. Against the backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a sharp increase in counterfeit products from China observed in recent months is noteworthy. According to a report of the renowned Italian business newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, officials of the Italian Guardia Finanza already seized 32.6 million counterfeit products coming from China between January and August 2021. Thus, this figure tripled in the first eight months of 2021 compared to the entire previous year – for the whole of 2020, the report mentions about 9.5 million seized products from China.
A related analysis by the Guardia di Finanza illustrates that Chinese products continue to play a major role in illicit trade when looking at the long term picture. For the period covering roughly the last two and a half years (from 2018 to August 2021), authorities seized a total of around 1.1 billion illegal products which infringed trademark rights or copyrights, violated the protection of the Made in Italy designation, or failed to meet product safety standards – and with around 547 million products, about half of these illegal goods originated in China. Illegal consumer goods were seized most frequently (around 42 percent of seizures); closely followed by toys (around 41.5 percent). Counterfeit electronics (around 10.9 percent) as well as clothing and fashion items (around 5.4 percent) follow with a distance. The counterfeits were primarily secured in warehouses (around 74 percent); in addition, around 20 percent were confiscated in retail outlets and a further 5.6 percent during transport.
The tremendous increase in illegal goods is attributed, among other things, to the Covid-19 pandemic and the related recession, according to a media report. The reason for this, according to the report, is often the lower prices of illegal goods.
Earlier this year, an OECD study reported that the coronavirus pandemic had further exacerbated the counterfeiting problem for companies from Switzerland too. Also, companies such as the German car and truck manufacturer Daimler recently reported that trade in counterfeits of their products had further intensified during Covid-19.