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AAFA, Industry Organizations Petition for Alibaba to Be Listed as a Notorious Market

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and several of its affiliates are slamming Alibaba again for not cleaning up its counterfeiting act.

AAFA and 17 global industry organizations, including the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and theTravel Goods Association (TGA), recently sent a petition to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), resubmitting a request to list Alibaba as a notorious market. The new letter follows the AAFA’s rebuttal comments submitted last week.

AAFA and the organizations say Alibaba has not made progress on requests included in the 2015 Notorious Markets report. Those initiatives included simplifying Taobao’s process for rights holders to register and request enforcement action, making Taobao’s good faith procedures accessible and reducing Taobao’s timelines for counterfeit seller issue penalties. Furthermore, the AAFA complained that Alibaba platforms, including Taobao, still contain a high number of counterfeits and that the company has not released its redaction on the actual number of counterfeits present on its site.

Although Alibaba executives have made numerous statements about counterfeit improvement, allegedly no significant progress has been made.

“Every day we read about Alibaba’s continued global expansion,” said Rick Helfenbein, president and chief executive of the AAFA. “While this is great for their shareholders, we are deeply concerned that they have not been as proactive on counterfeits as they could have been.”

Alibaba denied the allegations on Wednesday, reiterating that it is not an online marketplace for counterfeit goods, CNN money reported.

“We routinely collaborate with brands, associations and regulators to maintain the integrity of our marketplaces,” Alibaba said in a public statement. “Our recent USTR submissions describe our steadfast efforts to fight counterfeiters online and the sources of such production offline.”

Earlier this month, AAFA submitted another request for Alibaba to be placed on the USTR’s “2016 Special 301 Out of Cycle Review of Notorious Markets,” which is an annual list that notifies the public about alleged trademark counterfeiting retailers. Research from the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, a Chinese government agency, demonstrated that more than 67 percent of products sold on Taobao were counterfeits.

USTR has not yet commented on the alleged counterfeiting allegations against Alibaba.