As online shopping continues to rise there are growing concerns about the availability of counterfeit products via e-commerce platforms

As online shopping continues to rise there are growing concerns about the availability of counterfeit products via e-commerce platforms

The trade body representing US apparel and footwear retailers and importers has welcomed the latest moves by the government to stop counterfeit trafficking on e-commerce platforms.

The Presidential Memorandum on Stopping Counterfeit Trafficking on E-Commerce Platforms Through Fines and Civil Penalties was introduced by the Trump Administration on Tuesday (13 October).

It states that the Secretary of Homeland Security, through the Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection, and in consultation with the Attorney General, can consider taking all appropriate action under sections 526 and 596 of the Tariff Act 1930.

This involves seizing counterfeit goods imported into the US via an e-commerce platform, and imposing the maximum fines and civil penalties permitted by law on any platform that directs, assists with, or is in anyway concerned with the import of counterfeit goods. A legislative proposal to promote the objectives of the memorandum is expected to be developed within 120 days.

Pointing to continued increases in online shopping, and growing concerns with the availability of counterfeit products via e-commerce platforms and third-party online marketplaces, American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) president and CEO, Steve Lamar, emphasises the need to ensure greater transparency and accountability on the part of these marketplaces.

"The fight against fake consumer goods is about far more than lost sales and brand reputation. Counterfeit products expose consumers to a range of potential product safety hazards. We continue to push e-commerce platforms to prioritise the sale of authentic product and to increase their vetting process for third-party sellers this holiday season and into the year ahead.

"We look forward to detailed proposals to further reconcile this incredibly concerning, ongoing, and increasingly prevalent issue."

The AAFA already supports two pending bills with the stated goals of improving transparency in the online ecosystem and protecting consumers: the Stopping Harmful Offers on Platforms by Screening Against Fakes in E-Commerce (SHOP SAFE) Act 2020, and the Integrity, Notification and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplace (INFORM) Consumers Act.

It wants the Administration to take these bills into consideration when developing its legislative proposal.

In July, the AAFA and the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TRACIT) issued a joint report detailing the growing incidence of fraudulent advertising and counterfeits on popular social networking platforms. AAFA is also a founding member of the Buy Safe America Coalition.