In its ongoing mission to protect American businesses’ intellectual property rights (IPR) and to protect U.S. consumers against the threat posed by potentially dangerous goods, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Washington Dulles International Airport on Wednesday seized nearly $3 million in counterfeit consumer goods from China.
The shipment, which arrived on Aug. 22 and was headed to a drop shipper in Dallas, was manifested as “sticker storage bag.” The shipment actually consisted of 74 boxes that included 4,213 belts of various designer brand names, 176 Louis Vuitton handbags, 39 Gucci shirts, 37 pairs of Gucci pants and six Louis Vuitton shirts.
CBP officers detained the shipment on Aug. 24 as suspected counterfeit goods. CBP’s Consumer Products and Mass Merchandise Center of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) and the Apparel, Footwear and Textiles CEE, the agency’s trade experts, worked with trademark holders and verified that all 4,471 products were counterfeit. They appraised the products at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $2.95 million, if authentic.
Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) agents in Dallas is pursuing an investigation of the drop shipping company, CBP said.
“This is a significant seizure of counterfeit consumer goods that steals revenue from trademark holders, robs consumers of the high quality they expect with designer brand names, and more importantly, hits a disreputable seller where it hurts most–in the pocket,” said Casey Durst, director of field operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “Customs and Border Protection remains steadfast in our commitment to continue working with Homeland Security Investigations and our consumer safety partners to identify and seize counterfeit and potentially dangerous commercial goods and hold disreputable vendors accountable.”
On an average day in 2019, CBP officers seized $4.3 million worth of products with IPR violations. CBP officers and HSI agents confiscated 27,599 shipments containing counterfeit goods in fiscal year 2019, down from 33,810 seizures the prior year. However, the total estimated MSRP of the seized goods, had they been genuine, increased to over $1.5 billion from nearly $1.4 billion in 2018.
E-commerce sales have contributed to large volumes of low-value packages imported into the United States. In 2019, there were 144 million express shipments and 463 million international mail shipments. Over 90 percent of all intellectual property seizures occur in the international mail and express environments.
China remained the primary source for seized counterfeit and pirated goods, accounting for 83 percent of all IPR seizures and 92 percent of the estimated MSRP value of all IPR seizures.