AAFA welcomes USTR’s Notorious Markets report
Posted January 14, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. –The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) praised today’s release of the 2020 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).
The Notorious Markets list identifies physical and online marketplaces that purportedly engage in and facilitate substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. While the report has historically focused on marketplaces outside of the U.S., the 2020 report cites growing concerns of counterfeit products entering the U.S. through domestic third-party online marketplaces. AAFA made a number of recommendations regarding third-party marketplaces, social media, and physical markets that were included in USTR's 2020 report. AAFA’s submission is available for download.
“Identifying and publicly flagging the online platforms and the physical locations that counterfeit products are allowed to flourish is vital to our ongoing efforts to defend American intellectual property, American jobs, and American consumers. Thank you to USTR, and other U.S. government agencies involved in the preparation of this report, for including many of our perspectives and recommendations," said Steve Lamar, president and CEO of the AAFA.
"Representing more than 1,000 brands sold globally, our members are extremely concerned about the prevalence of counterfeits and fraudulent advertising,” he continued. “Americans are relying on online channels to find quality and affordable fashion more than ever in response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As our submission indicated, Americans are also relying on and trusting social media platforms that direct them to purchasing decisions. The brands we represent, and American consumers, deserve to trust that the online clothing, shoe, and accessories purchases they are making are legitimate. Beyond the damage to American businesses, counterfeits put American consumers at risk by exposing them to products that may not follow product safety regulations and standards.
"The annual review of Notorious Markets by the Office of the United States Trade Representative is a critical and effective tool in the U.S. government's toolkit to address the sale of counterfeits,” Lamar added. “At the same time, this report alone cannot fix the problem; we need legislation to address the scale and scope of the counterfeits and fraudulent ads. The 116th Congress was exploring legislation that would have instituted common-sense requirements to provide consumers with transparency about who they are purchasing from. It is time to take the steps necessary to protect American consumers and American businesses from the many harms of counterfeit sales, and we look forward to working with the 117th Congress and the incoming Biden Administration to see these new requirements enacted at the earliest possible opportunity.”
AAFA is also working with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to support and implement a national consumer awareness campaign on combating the trafficking in counterfeit and pirated products.