Risk governance

Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods



Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods is a longstanding problem, which appears to be growing in scope and magnitude. These practices have negative effects on the sales and profits of affected firms, while raising adverse revenue, economic, health, safety and security effects for governments and consumers. Organised criminal groups are seen as playing an increasingly important role in these activities, benefiting significantly from highly profitable counterfeiting and piracy operations.

OECD member governments are placing renewed emphasis on combating counterfeiting and piracy. There has also recently been an upsurge in private sector mobilisation to raise awareness of this challenge. In particular, a proposal was put forward by the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights of EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office) to carry out a comprehensive economic assessment of the problem, and the main governance gaps that facilitate it or act as a driver.


Policy context

From a policy perspective, work on counterfeit trade builds on two equally valid policy concerns:

  • A public governance concern, given the impact of crime and illicit trade activities on good governance, public safety and the rule of law, which has been behind the setting up of the Task Force on Charting Illicit Trade in the context of GOV’s High Level Risk Forum on the public governance side.

  • A concern for the impact on innovation, intellectual property rights and legitimate competitive advantage of rights holders.



This project has two main goals: First, it will provide quantitative and qualitative assessments of counterfeit and pirated trade, in order to provide policymakers with robust empirical evidence. Second, as the problem of counterfeit and pirated trade spans across various policy areas and requires co-ordinated government action, this work will also provide additional guidance on developing and delivering policies to counter this problem based on a whole-of-government approach.



A joint OECD-EUIPO publication on Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Mapping the Economic Impact will be released on 18th April 2016.

Counterfeit and pirated products come from many economies, with China appearing as the single largest producing market. These illegal products are frequently found in a range of industries, from luxury items (e.g. fashion apparel or deluxe watches), via intermediary products (such as machines, spare parts or chemicals) to consumer goods that have an impact on personal health and safety (such as pharmaceuticals, food and drink, medical equipment, or toys). This report assess the quantitative value, scope and trends of this illegal trade.



For any questions or if you require further information please contact Mr Piotr Stryszowski, OECD


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