The clash between Washington and Beijing is hurting the fight against fake goods.
Counterfeiting was one of the many charges laid by U.S. President Donald Trump and his trade team at China’s door. They’re not wrong; the Chinese fake goods industry is enormous. Mainland China is the world’s largest producer of counterfeits, accounting for 63.2 percent of seized goods in 2013, followed by Hong Kong at 21.3 percent. Products from the United States, Italy, France, and Switzerland have been the main targets.
The growth of e-commerce, which makes it even harder for consumers to distinguish genuine from counterfeit goods, has fueled the industry. Counterfeit goods not only stick the consumer with a lesser product, they cause reputational damage to companies. Due to a lack of resources, small and medium enterprises are less likely to respond to their goods being counterfeited.
Globalization has created the conditions for the counterfeiting industry to boom, but protectionist measures will cripple attempts to solve the problem.