Is Trump declaring war on counterfeits or Amazon and other e-marketplaces?
The Trump administration is looking to exert pressure on e-commerce platforms and warehouses to reduce the number of counterfeits sold to American consumers.
The Department of Homeland Security is expected to formally announce today “immediate actions” to pursue fines and other penalties “against third-party marketplaces and other intermediaries dealing in counterfeit merchandise,” according to reports.
The U.S. government, which has little recourse against foreign exporters of counterfeit goods, appears to be focusing its attention on more accessible domestic sites.
Peter Navarro, director of trade and manufacturing in the Trump administration and a chief proponent of its tariff policy against China and other nations, said the new initiative is intended to make all e-marketplace operators do the right thing.
“We don’t love regulations in this administration, but what we do love is corporations accepting their appropriate responsibility. Right now, it’s skewed,” Mr. Navarro told CNBC after the signing of the Phase One trade deal with China last week. “If you’re an intellectual property rights holder, whether you’re Michael Kors or Louis Vuitton or Pfizer selling prescription drugs, the onus is really on your company to police the internet, where a lot of this counterfeiting occurs. That’s not right.”
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Varro said, “This is not about any one e-commerce platform — this is about e-commerce playing by a different set of rules that simultaneously hammer brick-and-mortar retailers, defraud consumers, punish workers and rip off intellectual-property rights holders. It’s Amazon, Shopify, Alibaba, eBay, JD.com, Walmart.com and a constellation of lesser players that provide the digital hubs.”
- U.S. Signals Crackdown on Counterfeit Goods Sold Online – The Wall Street Journal
- U.S. to unveil crackdown on counterfeit, pirated e-commerce goods – Reuters
- Peter Navarro puts Amazon and eBay on notice: The China trade deal cracks down on counterfeits – CNBC
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Who bears the greatest responsibility for counterfeits entering the U.S. — the government, manufacturers, retailers or marketplaces? Will fining and pursuing other penalties against e-commerce marketplaces be effective in cutting the sale of counterfeit goods?