Today’s report on the value of seized counterfeit goods can be spun lots of ways. The good news is the value of what’s been nabbed is falling. What’s less certain is whether that means there are 1) fewer attempts by counterfeiters, 2) counterfeiters are getting better at sneaking product in, or 3) the recession forced down consumer demand for goods, which in turn lowered the incentive for traffickers to try to evade the border.
It’s true that faked goods, like oxygen, are coming from everywhere. (The link is to a blogged item on a recently broken up counterfeiting ring in Waxhaw, North Carolina. Waxhaw!) The SAE, which this year produced a series of standards on avoidance and detection of counterfeit electronic components, pegs the current value of illicit parts at between $1 billion and $10 billion annually.
However, my take is that such estimates are exaggerated, particularly on the high end, the byproduct of extrapolation upon extrapolation. But I do think there’s a problem here, and I like seeing Customs’ and others reporting on the issue because it keeps the pressure on to address it.