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NBA, MLB Join ‘Fake Goods, Real Dangers’ Initiative Fighting Fake Sports Merch

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced they will be teaming up with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB) on the anniversary of a first-of-its-kind partnership to combat counterfeit goods.

This announcement comes just one year after CBP and the Chamber signed a memorandum of understanding to improve collaboration and the exchange of information to better protect the public and brand owners from criminal counterfeiting operations.

Counterfeit sports merchandise generates millions of dollars in revenue for criminal organizations each year, the organizations noted. Last year, CBP seized $94 million worth of fake sports memorabilia, apparel and equipment.

CBP, the Chamber, NBA and MLB hope this partnership will help protect consumers and their families from unsafe, substandard and counterfeit products that threaten consumer health and safety and expose law abiding business to unfair economic competition.

“The Chamber and business are proud to continue its alliance with law enforcement to prioritize solutions to eliminate counterfeit and pirated goods,” Chamber executive vice president Tom Quaadman said. “We are excited to grow this partnership with the participation of the truly iconic National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball. Fake goods have real consequences, and consumers,whether they’re sports fans, parents or small businesses, should have the confidence that they are getting what they paid for.”

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The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that the global trade in counterfeit and pirated goods generates more than $500 billion in illicit proceeds annually. Last fiscal year, CBP seized more than 26,500 shipments that contained millions of counterfeit items, including personal protective equipment, pharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel, footwear and jewelry.

“The protection of intellectual property is a cornerstone of CBP’s trade mission and the results of our partnership with the Chamber thus far have been very exciting,” said John Leonard, deputy executive assistant commissioner of the Office of Trade. “We look forward to the expanding this effort with the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball, and we encourage sports fans to shop from reputable sources.”

CBP said trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens America’s innovation economy, the competitiveness of U.S. businesses and the livelihoods of American workers, and sometimes contain components or chemical additives that harm consumers’ health and safety. The proceeds from sales of counterfeit goods fund criminal organizations engaged in drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, financial crime and other illicit activities.

CBP’s “Fake Goods, Real Dangers” initiative raises consumer awareness about the dangers of purchasing counterfeit and pirated goods, and the Chamber and CBP have reached millions of people in joint public awareness campaigns on television and radio to educate consumers on this issue. Under this initiative, leading retailers and customs officials are exploring data sharing through a pilot program.