Dubai: About less than one per cent of fake and pirated goods that landed in foreign shores have been traced back to the UAE, making it one of the top sources of counterfeit products in the world, according to a report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
In its latest report, OECD said about 0.5 per cent of the total number of imported bogus goods which were seized in 2013 originated from the UAE.
However, the volume of fake products traced back to the UAE is no match to the ones that came from China, which accounted for 63.2 per cent of total "customs seizures", making the country the largest producer of fake goods.
According to OECD, the trade in fake and pirated goods, which include knock-offs of designer handbags, shoes, sunglasses, electronics and watches, has been on the rise, accounting for 2.5 per cent of world trade, or nearly half a trillion dollars annually. It is believed that a huge chunk of the proceeds goes to organised crime.
In the first quarter of 2014 alone, the Department of Economic Development (DED) seized more than 11.5 million counterfeit products which were estimated to be worth Dh27.7 million.
Enforcement got a significant boost as the DED reported that 3.5 million fake products immitating the world's top brands, including sun/prescription glasses, smartphones and mobile phone accessories worth Dh195 million, had been seized in Dubai alone, according to another report in September last.
OECD’s latest report, produced in cooperation with the European Union Intellectual Property Office, is based on customs seizures between 2011 and 2013.
After China, the second-biggest producer of fake goods is Turkey, with 3.3 per cent of seized items traced back to Turkish suppliers, followed by Singapore (1.9 per cent), Thailand (1.6 per cent), India (1.2 per cent) and Morocco (0.6 per cent) in the top five.
“The findings of this new report contradict the image that counterfeiters only hurt big companies and luxury goods manufacturers. They take advantage of our trust in trademarks and brand names to undermine economies and endanger lives,” said OECD Deputy Secretary-General Doug Frantz,
Fake products crop up in everything from handbags and perfumes to machine parts and chemicals. According to OECD, footwear is the most-copied item though trademarks are infringed even on strawberries and bananas.
Makers of fake goods also produce knock-offs that endanger lives – auto parts that fail, pharmaceuticals that make people sick, toys that harm children, baby formula that provides no nourishment and medical instruments that deliver false readings.
Designer labels that are most commonly copied include American, Italian and French brands.
"The top countries whose companies had their intellectual property rights infringed in the 2011-2013 seizures were the United States, whose brands or patents were affected by 20 per cent of the knock-offs, then Italy with 15 per cent, and France and Switzerland with 12 per cent each. Japan and Germany stood at 8 per cent each followed by the UK and Luxembourg," said OECD in a statement.