More than EUR26bn (US$28.8bn) in sales are lost every year due to fake clothes, shoes and accessories

More than EUR26bn (US$28.8bn) in sales are lost every year due to fake clothes, shoes and accessories

The scale of the impact of counterfeiting on the EU textile and clothing sector is revealed in a new study, which estimates more than EUR26bn (US$28.8bn) and up to 363,000 jobs are lost every year due to fake clothes, shoes and accessories.

Furthermore, the sale of these fakes in the EU equals nearly 10% of the total sales in the sector throughout the EU's 28 member states, the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), says.

That lost revenue translates into 363,000 lost jobs, as legitimate manufacturers and retailers make and sell less than they would have done in the absence of counterfeiting, and therefore employ fewer workers.

The study also assesses the indirect effect of the counterfeit trade. When the knock-on effects on suppliers are taken into account, it says, legitimate businesses across the EU lose EUR43.3bn of sales revenue because of counterfeiting, with around 518,000 jobs lost. Since producers and sellers of fakes do not pay tax, social contributions and VAT, over EUR8bn of government revenue across the EU-28 is not collected.

The European apparel and textile confederation Euratex is urging the EU to take "concrete actions" in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy, by combating the problem both within the EU and by ensuring that imported counterfeit textiles and clothing are intercepted and perpetrators are brought to justice.

It also says exporters of European products to third countries "need assurances that their designs will enjoy all necessary protection on the markets of those countries as required by the WTO TRIPs agreement (Article 25.2)," which makes specific reference to the protection of textile designs through industrial design law or copyright law.