SUPPLIERS | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Southeast Asia counterfeit goods market ‘to worsen': EU-ABC

Counterfeit goods market amounts to a whopping US$35.9b.

The extent of counterfeit goods market in Southeast Asia is expected to get worse as it currently amounts to a whopping US$35.9b, according to the EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC).

Globally, estimates say that the illicit trade robs the global economy of US$2.2t, with international trade in counterfeit goods contributing some US$461b and the ASEAN counterfeit markets contributing close to 10% of it.

Vietnam seized 150,000 counterfeit masks in July this year, whilst the Philippines seized USD$5m in counterfeit personal protective equipment and medical supplies.

“Counterfeiters and smugglers are known to exploit systemic weaknesses and ASEAN leaders need to see the urgency to coordinate and collaborate to combat against this transboundary issue. We understand that the task at hand is considerable and that government leaders cannot address this alone,” EU-ABC executive director Chris Humphrey said.

EU-ABC has suggested the region focus on collaborating with e-commerce platforms, developing frameworks to manage counterfeit goods, enhancing free trade zones, and adjusting taxation policies to combat the effects of the illicit trade industry.

The council is organising a virtual workshop with more than 80 customs officials in the region to raise awareness on illicit trade issues with an emphasis on risk profiling techniques as a form of support.

They also published their latest advocacy paper Tackling Illicit Trade in ASEAN, which provides critical insight on how governments and industry leaders can work together in introducing regulatory changes to tackle this pressing issue, as officials prepare for the upcoming 14th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime.

ASEAN leaders have expressed their “commitment to combat transnational crimes particularly amidst the challenges and new threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, including by strengthening cross-sectoral and cross-pillar cooperation,” during the recently concluded 37th ASEAN Summit.

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