Counterfeiting accounts for around 2 percent of world trade, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Applying this rate to the value of goods exported from East Asia to the United States and the European Union in 2010, where 75 percent of the counterfeit products seized worldwide from 2008 through 2010 were manufactured, suggests a flow worth approximately $24.4 billion.
Two-thirds of all counterfeit trade is from China, according to a report on transnational crime in Asia by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crimes. Other significant East Asian exporters of counterfeit goods include Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore and Vietnam.
Most of the counterfeit trade sourced from East Asia ends up in the United States and Europe. According to U.S. Customs, China accounted for 87 percent of the value of the counterfeit goods they seized in 2008-2010. Most counterfeits fall into four categories: CDs and DVDs; accessories, watches and footwear; tobacco products; and textiles.
China is cracking down on its counterfeit business. In July 2011, the government concluded a nine-month enforcement drive, leading to the arrests of more than 9,000 suspects in connection with the seizure of $530 million worth of counterfeit products, and the closure of almost 13,000 illegal factories. Another series of raids took place in July 2012 across 190 cities. The resulting seizures were valued at $182 million. More than 2,000 people were arrested and 1,100 facilities were destroyed.
Sophie is a graduate of Northwestern University. She covers the emerging markets in Southeast Asia, with a particular interest in foreign investment in the region....