When nations rank highly for imports and exports according to an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) study, that is usually cause for celebration. A recent OECD study, however, has left a number of Asian nations with a bit of a black eye for their popular trade items. The study in question ranked the nations with the largest traffic in counterfeit and pirated goods.
Of the top five countries, China took first place with 63% of the estimated half-trillion (US) market for these illicit goods. Turkey took second place, but the remainder of the top five went to Singapore, Thailand, and India.
The study was a joint report created by the OECD and the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office.
Chinese-made products amounted to 63.2% of all fake or pirated goods seized by authorities around the world. Turkey, who came in second, accounted for just 3.3% of the seizures. Singapore, Thailand, and India collectively amounted to 4.2% (1.9%, 1.6%, and 1.2%, respectively). China’s dominance may not be that surprising, given its relative production strength vis-a-vis the other nations in the top five.
On the other end of the spectrum, nations hardest hit by these counterfeit and pirated goods included the U.S., Italy, France, Switzerland, and Japan. The U.S., as the world’s largest economy, somewhat unsurprisingly had the largest problem with the import of counterfeit and pirated goods.
According to the OECD, “Imports of counterfeit and pirated goods are worth nearly half a trillion dollars a year, or around 2.5 percent of global imports, with US, Italian and French brands the hardest hit and many of the proceeds going to organised crime.” The OECD said the study utilized figures that ran up to the year 2013; therefore, the rankings may have shifted slightly over recent years. That possibility will be examined in subsequent studies.
The shocking results of the study revealed that worldwide trade in fake goods amounted to a staggering $461 billion (U.S.) in 2013 alone. Total global imports that year amounted to $17.9 trillion (U.S.). The $461 billion (U.S.) figure is larger than the nominal GDP of many of the world’s nations, including Israel, Singapore, Austria, and dozens of others.
“Up to five percent of goods imported into the European Union are fakes. Most originate in middle income or emerging countries, with China the top producer,” the OECD report noted.