U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and import specialists at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport seized 16,340 counterfeit Gucci, Facebook and Instagram women’s sleepwear items, that if genuine, would have had an estimated retail value of $5.5 million, the agency reported last week.
CBP officers, in coordination with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents assigned to the Trade Enforcement Coordination Center (TECC), seized the counterfeit products on June 12 after they had arrived from China in a shipment containing 329 bales of clothing. In 189 of those bales, CBP officers discovered the counterfeit products hidden between generic versions of the sleepwear in a clear smuggling attempt.
“CBP continues to be vigilant and commits substantial resources to identifying and intercepting shipments containing goods that infringe on U.S. intellectual property laws,” Carlos C. Martel, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles, said. “Counterfeit goods can have significant health and safety consequences and a harmful impact on the U.S. economy.”
Counterfeit sleeping garments also might not comply with U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sleepwear flammability standards. According to the CPSC, children’s sleepwear must be flame resistant and self-extinguish if a flame from a candle, match, lighter or a similar item causes it to catch fire. The rules cover all children’s sleepwear above size 9 months and up to size 14.
“In addition to the health and safety risks, consumers should be aware that the money they pay for a counterfeit product often funds criminal enterprises,” Donald R. Kusser, CBP port director of the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport, said. “It is as simple as ensuring that the products are bought from legitimate sources.”
Available on illegitimate websites and sold in underground outlets, counterfeit commodities multiply the illegal profits of smugglers and traffickers, CBP said, with consumers tricked into believing they are buying an original product at a significant discount.
Nationwide in fiscal year 2019, CBP seized 27,599 shipments containing goods that violated intellectual property rights. The total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the seized goods, had they been genuine, increased to nearly $1.5 billion from over $1.4 billion in 2018.
Watches and jewelry topped the list for number of seizures with 4,242, representing 15 percent of all seizures. Watches and jewelry also continued as the top product seized by total MSRP, with seizures valued at over $687 million, representing 44 percent of the total. Apparel and accessories are second, with seizures estimated to be valued at more than $226 million.