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Most fake items sold in UK bought by consumers who know they are purchasing fakes, OECD

The majority of counterfeit products sold in Britain are bought by consumers who know they are purchasing fake items, a new report published this week by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has revealed.


More than half of imported counterfeit and pirated goods sold to UK consumers in 2016 were purchased by people who knew they were acquiring bogus products.


According to the study, the percentage of counterfeit items that were bought knowingly in 2016 varied widely by product category, ranging from 33% for food products to 59% for clothing and accessories.


The trade in counterfeit products is costing the UK economy billions of pounds a year and tens of thousands of jobs, the OECD said.


The study found that in 2016, imports of counterfeit and pirated goods cost the UK economy as much as £13.6 billion ($17.6 billion) and in excess of 86,000 jobs.

The monetary loss to the British economy was the equivalent of 3% of genuine imports, up from £9.3 billion in 2013.


In monetary terms, information and communications technology products were the most counterfeited products in 2016, with bogus items in this category worth an estimated £2.5 billion brought into the UK that year.


In relative terms, the OECD found that clothing and accessories and toys and games were the most targeted by criminals who produce and sell counterfeits, with fakes in these product categories accounting for 9.3% and 8%, respectively, of UK imports in 2016.


In global terms, the OECD found that the trade in counterfeit and pirated goods that infringe UK intellectual property rights rose in 2016, increasing from £13.4 billion in 2013 to 16.2 billion, which was the equivalent of 3.3% of total UK manufacturing sales.


Commenting on the contents of the report, OECD Public Governance Director Marcos Bonturi said: “These findings clearly show the need for ‎continued vigilance and for the strengthening of measures to counter illicit trade in the UK and abroad.


“Good governance is an essential element of this equation. Countries need to work together if they want to win the fight against illicit trade and against all other illicit activities linked to it.”


In March of this year, the OECD and the EU’s Intellectual Property Office published a report that revealed pirated and fake goods accounted for 3.3% of all global trade in 2016, and that the worldwide value of the counterfeit market amounted to $509 billion that year.


This figure was an increase from $461 billion in 2013, which was 2.5% of all world trade at the time.


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