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Mapping the Real Routes of Trade in Fake Goods

Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods is a vital threat for modern, innovation-driven economies, a worldwide phenomenon that grows in scope and magnitude. Counterfeiters ship infringing products via complex routes, with many intermediary points, which poses a substantial challenge to efficient enforcement. This study looks at the issue of the complex routes of trade in counterfeit pirated goods. Using a set of statistical filters, it identifies key producing economies and key transit points. The analysis is done for ten main sectors for which counterfeiting is the key threat. The results will facilitate tailoring policy responses to strengthen governance frameworks to tackle this risk, depending on the profile of a given economy that is known as a source of counterfeit goods in international trade.

Published on June 23, 2017

In series:Illicit Tradeview more titles


Acronyms and abbreviations
Executive summary
Mapping the real routes of trade in fake goods
An overview of ten industry sectors
Conclusions and next steps
Annexes3 chapters available
Additional tables
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Key findings


China emerges as the top producer of counterfeit goods in nine out of ten analysed categories. In addition, several Asian economies, including India, Thailand, Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan and Viet Nam are important producers in many sectors.


The data identifies several important transit points for trade in counterfeits, including Hong Kong (China), the United Arab Emirates and Singapore, which are handling trade in counterfeit goods in all the analysed product categories.


Small shipments and parcels tend to dominate numerous trade routes, reflecting the shrinking costs of postal and courier shipments and the increasing importance of Internet and e-commerce in international trade.