The American Apparel & Footwear Association thanks the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) for the consideration of the association’s comments and commitment to issuing the annual Notorious Markets report.
“Today’s Notorious Markets Report by USTR echoes our concerns and reemphasizes the administration’s commitment to highlighting platforms and markets annually that contribute to our growing counterfeit problem,” says AAFA President and CEO Steve Lamar.
“We must do all that we can to stop counterfeits globally, including those promoted and sold on platforms based in the United States. As President Biden has stated, all platforms must be held accountable. Platforms have allowed and enabled the promotion and sale of counterfeit products, all while harming American consumers.
“The U.S. must not only set the international standard but must also practice what we preach by doing the same as we are asking of others to ensure real and effective checks and balances for online purchases, providing a template for international partners with much-needed proactive measures to try to stop counterfeits before they are even listed.
“We applauded the signing of the Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces (INFORM) Consumers Act as part of the 2023 omnibus spending package. INFORM is a good first step. However, it is only one part of much-needed two-part solution to address the problem, which the President called for in his Safer America plan and plans to keep dangerous and unsafe products from being sold online. The Shop Safe Act, which we will continue to call on leaders to pass, holds the much-needed liability piece. Until platforms are held to a standard to partner transparently and consistently with brands to prevent the sale of infringing products online – anonymous counterfeiters will operate with near impunity and dangerous counterfeits will continue to harm unsuspecting American families.
“AAFA looks forward to USTR, Congress, and President Biden keeping this issue squarely on the national agenda for consumer safety and our economic competitiveness across our cities and townships in America."
As stated in AAFA’s 2022 Notorious Markets submission, “Nefarious counterfeiters, masked behind the anonymity provided by online platforms due to little, or no, front-end verification, can take advantage of consumers. Never has the counterfeit problem been at the scale it is today, from dupe influencers, fraudulent advertisements, and fake websites to the actual counterfeit products being sold to unwitting consumers across platforms – this is a full online destructive digital value chain. AAFA calls for immediate action to bring reprieve to U.S. businesses and to protect consumers until long-term solutions are realized.”
Just yesterday, AAFA also submitted comments to USTR as part of its annual Special 301 Review. The Special 301 report identifies foreign countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. entities that rely upon intellectual property protection. AAFA nominated Bangladesh, China, and The European Union to the Special 301 Priority Watch List. Access AAFA’s Special 301 submission.