AAFA submitted comments to the Office of the United States Trade Representative recommending platforms and marketplaces – including Facebook and Instagram – for Notorious Market designations.
The American Apparel & Footwear Association cited significant increases in the availability of counterfeit products via social media in its submission for the 2021 Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets. In particular, AAFA highlighted industry concerns with Facebook’s platforms — including not only Facebook but also Instagram and WhatsApp — which are being used by counterfeiters to advertise and sell fake goods. This is the second time AAFA has highlighted Facebook in its submission for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) Notorious Markets report, and follows increased focus on the role of social media in facilitating the sale of counterfeits online. Earlier this year, AAFA released a report “Dupe Influencers: The Concerning Trend of Promoting Counterfeit Apparel, Footwear, and Accessories on Social Media” with analysis of the alarming behavior that has generated millions of views, likes, and shares of content directly related to the advertisement and sale of counterfeit goods online.
AAFA nominated three other platforms — Tokopedia, Bukalapak, and Shoppee — in its submission this year.
“Counterfeits – which are far too easy to find online these days — are a scourge on our society. Counterfeiters steal American intellectual property, destroy American jobs, traffic in unsafe products, and ignore responsible factory conditions,” said Steve Lamar, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association.
“Most people don’t want to buy counterfeits, but they often end up with them anyway because many social media sites and third-party platforms do not do a good enough job vetting sellers and providing transparency to users and consumers. This is why AAFA is supporting the SHOP SAFE Act and the INFORM Consumers Act — two measures that will make it difficult for counterfeiters to ship their illicit merchandise to unsuspecting consumers — that are currently moving in Congress. This is also why the Notorious Markets process is such an important tool in the fight against illicit goods, as it holds those who do not meet basic standards accountable to the public.”
The Notorious Markets list identifies marketplaces that purportedly engage in and facilitate substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. AAFA focused this year’s submission on foreign and domestic e-commerce platforms.