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Alibaba promises jobs as pirate products persist

WASHINGTON, DC: January 12, 2017. The International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) has contracted with the University of Trento, Italy to verify the effectiveness of the IACC MarketSafe Expansion Program that supports copyright enforcement on Alibaba's eCommerce platforms.

Last year a report by the OECD and the EU's Intellectual Property Office concluded that imports of counterfeit and pirated goods are worth nearly $500 billion a year to criminals with U.S., Italian and French brands the hardest hit.

Up to five percent of goods imported into the EU are fakes with most originating in middle income or emerging countries with China the top producer, said the report.

Last month the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman published a list of physical and online markets that are reported to be engaging in and facilitating substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting.

Included in its latest Notorious Markets report is the Alibaba Group subsidiary Taobao because copyright holders continue to report serious challenges to reducing high levels of counterfeit and pirated goods on the site that is one of the top five in China, and ranked 15 globally.Taobao.com 1

"Tens of millions of American jobs and several trillion dollars of our gross domestic product rely on American creative and innovative industries," said ambassador Froman. "Our Notorious Markets List highlights key examples of online and physical markets all over the world that are linked to significant infringement of American businesses' intellectual property rights," he added.

The USTR said Alibaba claims to have proactively removed more than 380 million product listings and closed approximately 180,000 Taobao stores in the 12 months to August 2016. However, it added: "One large motor vehicle manufacturer reported that at least 95 percent of the merchandise bearing its company's brand names and trademarks found on Alibaba platforms is suspected to be counterfeit."

This week Alibaba Group CEO Jack Ma met Donald Trump in New York and promised one million new jobs if U.S. SMEs used his eCommerce platforms to sell their products.

However the USTC noted that Alibaba's 'Good Faith' program to enforce copyright and discourage counterfeit selling "reportedly remains out of reach for the vast majority of right holders, particularly SMEs, due to stringent eligibility criteria that must be met and maintained over a period of time".

In a related development, Alibaba.com has agreed to integrate approved members of the WCA forwarder network into its BtB platform from this month for shipments to the U.S., India and the UK.The two organizations said they have agreed a standard of service and will offer a protection scheme for all participants.

Director of Alibaba Logistics Steve Su commented: “We are committed to offering premium services to global SMEs on our platform who are looking to scale up their business presence through cross-border trading. We are confident partnering with a leading global logistics alliance such as WCA will help us achieve that goal.”

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