US Govt. IDs ‘Notorious’ Piracy & Counterfeiting Markets

Piracy and counterfeiting will persist till the end of time, it seems. That was my conclusion after reading the latest annual Review of Notorious Markets from the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), which identified numerous regions, countries, cities, and online sites that remain centers of commercial goods piracy and counterfeiting, despite persistent enforcement actions.

The report had previously been included in the USTR's Annual Special 301 Report, but the US government has opted to publish it separately to focus attention on the issue and give it greater prominence, in a bid to reduce the incidence of counterfeiting. Most of the online sites, towns, and regions described as “notorious markets” by the USTR are either physically in or operated from Asia, Russia, or South America. China features numerous such locations.

The USTR's list includes major online sites such as {complink 615|Baidu Inc.}, “recently ranked as the number one most visited site in China and among the top ten in the world.” Physical sites named include Bahia Market in Guayaquil, Ecuador; China Small Commodities Market in Yiwu, China; and other locations in Argentina, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Paraguay, Pakistan, Philippines, and Thailand.

The list recognizes markets in which pirated or counterfeit goods are reportedly available, but is by no means an exhaustive record of all notorious markets around the world. “Rather, the list highlights with concern some of the most prominent examples of notorious markets in each of the categories referenced below,” says the USTR. “The United States urges the responsible authorities to intensify efforts to combat piracy and counterfeiting in these and similar markets, and to use the information contained in the Notorious Markets List to pursue legal action where appropriate.”

The activities carried out at the locations or online sites identified by the US government offer a range of products and services, including pirated music and counterfeit materials such as cigarettes, clothing, manufactured goods, pharmaceutical products, and sporting goods. China's Taobao is one such site. The USTR report concedes that Taobao is “making significant efforts to address the availability of infringing goods through its website.” But, “it still has a long way to go in order to resolve those problems.”

Some physical counterfeiting markets in Asia and South America have a particular emphasis on electronics goods: Ciudad del Este in Paraguay is one of those locations. According to the report, “this activity spills over into the entire Tri-Border Region of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, creating a hotbed of piracy and counterfeiting.”

Of course, many locations listed in the USTR's report have been previously identified by local and international authorities, including the Chinese government, which has stepped up enforcement actions in recent years. Yet counterfeiting continues to flourish for the simple reason that it can be profitable. With any luck, next year, the list will be shorter — the infringers highlighted in 2011 won't all want a permanent black mark against their names.

14 comments on “US Govt. IDs ‘Notorious’ Piracy & Counterfeiting Markets

  1. Anand
    March 1, 2011


       I feel this report is a step in the right direction. This will put pressure on those websites to take necessary action against piracy and counterfeiting, so that they stay out of this list next year. I hope the list will be shorter next year. Having said that I feel this gives google a very good oppurtunity to capture the China market. For example disclosures that salespeople helped defraud buyers may send business to rivals Google Inc.

  2. Ariella
    March 1, 2011

    Yet counterfeiting continues to flourish for the simple reason that it can be profitable.   Exactly, whoever said “Crime doesn't pay” forgot that the reason so many engage in it is that it does.

  3. Mydesign
    March 2, 2011

       Now a day’s almost all industries are facing different types of challenges for their existences and counterfeit is one of the major threat for the industry.  Before going to deep, we have to consider and analyze different factors like, why peoples and authorities are encouraging the counterfeit products? Why there is a major cost difference between these products. The best part is China and neighboring Asian countries are the leading players in this market. If we are analyzing how china becomes the leader, the availability of cheap raw materials and less labour cost may be the answer.

       But again how these companies or peoples are capable to make these counterfeit products, from where did they get all these product designs and ideas. I think it’s a fault from the original vendors and designers, by different ways we are providing the chances to such companies for making counterfeit products. If we want to avoid counterfeit products, strictly follow the copyright acts and try to maintain always the secrecy (NOT easy) and more over make the cost justifiable with the value and features of the products. The Same thing is happening in ONLINE websites too, for online we can make sure about securities like https, versign etc.

  4. Adeniji Kayode
    March 2, 2011

    Yet counterfeiting continues to flourish for the simple reason that it can be profitable.   Exactly, whoever said “Crime doesn't pay” forgot that the reason so many engage in it is that it does.


    I agree with you Ariella, while the “original” takes more time, energy and capital to make, “the counterfeit” takes much more less of the three factors of production, so it tends to be cheaper and more profitable for the people involved.     

  5. Adeniji Kayode
    March 2, 2011


    The problem of counterfeit product goes beyond the fault of the original vendors and designers. While that may be a factor responsible for it in the sense that even when a company lay off her workers, those workers look for ways to keep doing what they have been doing before and if they find another company that is ready to absorb them to produce even if against their formal company- they would,nt mind and they also make use of inferior materials just to be in market.

    while it is not their intention sometimes to engage in competition against their formal company or industry, they do so indirectly.

    Among other factors ,this is a factor.

  6. Adeniji Kayode
    March 2, 2011


    Some School of thoughts submitted that the innocent purchases of counterfeit products from Internet sites and markets are funding terrorist and criminal organisations.Sales of fake goods, ranging from 'designer' clothes to powertools to pharmaceutical products are considered to have a direct link to international terrorism and crime.

    How true is this?



  7. eemom
    March 2, 2011

    People buy counterfeit products because they are much cheaper than the original. People sell them because there is a huge profit margin in them. I would not make the leap that they are funding terrorist organizations. I do tend to believe that piracy will forever continue to one degree or another.

  8. mfbertozzi
    March 2, 2011

    I agree with eemom; there's also another factor; it happens (sometimes) people buy counterfeit/pirate products because they are available on the market in advance and this is not a positive approach.

  9. Eldredge
    March 2, 2011

    Unfortunately, like many other highly profitable 'businesses', as the incentives (or disincentives, in this case) to set up operations in one location decreases, the business moves to a more acceptable location. As someone stated earlier, dealing with counterfeit merchandise will always be a problem. In more recent years, the types of items that are being hijacked have become much more high-tech.

  10. Adeniji Kayode
    March 3, 2011


    I really share your opinion that piracy will forever be, the reasons are clear.

    Fake goods do not cost as much as the originals and in some cases, the originals are not even available.

    On the other hand, the counterfeits are made to look so much like the originals that people don,t even recognise them until you start to use them and you discover that it does not last at all due to inferior materials used.

    If there will never be “originals” , there can never be “conuterfeits”

  11. mfbertozzi
    March 3, 2011

    Exactly. But especially on materials I believe there is major concerns related to possible issues on safety and people health. Maybe vendors and Govs have ot improve education on how counterfeit could be dangerous for individuals.

  12. Adeniji Kayode
    March 3, 2011


    I want to also add that Piracy and Counterfeiting Markets do not necessarily want to engage in competition  with the “original” companies, they just want to survive.

    Consumers's pockets also play a big role in this matter. They sometimes will go for inferior products to save some money but sometimes at the expense of their comfort- I mean to say they spend more at the end of the day because the counterfeits don,t last when compared to the originals and sometimes they come without warranty

  13. Anna Young
    March 6, 2011

    Eemom and all have mentioned rightly that counterfeit goods will always be an issue and a difficult one to tackle.

    We live in a consumer society, counterfeiters recognised this and are making the best of it.

    It is a lucrative business; criminal minded people would always find a loophole to flourish their businesses.

    However, I applaud the moves taken by the United States government to encourage authorities to intensify efforts to combat piracy and counterfeiting.


  14. Kunmi
    December 31, 2011

    Dealing with Counterfeiting is not only Gov job but the consumers also have to declare to the public if they suspect any fake company

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.