The US government has placed Beijing's Silk Market and China's top Internet search engine Baidu on its list of so-called "notorious markets" known for piracy and counterfeiting.

They are among more than 30 websites and physical markets identified by the US Trade Representative in its annual list of places that sell goods such as clothing that might be counterfeits or unauthorised copies.

The Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets report is a precursor to the full Special 301 Report which is due out at the end of April.

Chinese search engine Baidu is said to provide direct links to pirated and counterfeit goods sold on websites, while China's largest retail website, Taoboa, is accused by the agency of selling copyright-infringing goods on its site.

And Beijing's Silk Street Market is described as "a particularly prominent example of the counterfeiting of consumer and industrial products that is endemic in many retail and wholesale markets throughout China."

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), which notes that footwear, apparel and fashion accessories make up most counterfeiting and piracy seizures by the US Customs and Border Protection, says the report "shines a light" on some of the markets that require extra attention.

"As consumers continue to utilise e-commerce sites to purchase our quality products, we must recognise and fight the threat that modern technologies pose to brand reputations," says AAFA president and CEO Kevin Burke. "This report does just that."

The Association, which is hosting an intellectual property workshop later this month called 'Knock It Off! Brands and the Counterfeiting Quandary,' believes the growing prevalence of rogue websites poses a significant threat to the US apparel and footwear industry, its global supply chain, and customers.

"The websites often look legitimate [and] accept major credit cards. This practice enables counterfeiters to sell directly to consumers, who are likely unaware that the product is fake.

"In addition to representing the theft of companies' brand names, these counterfeit goods may not comply with the appropriate safety standards, leaving the stark possibility that these counterfeit goods may pose real and significant harm to consumers and their families."

Click here to view the Review of Notorious Markets report.