EU customs seize $1.4 billion of fake goods in 2010

BRUSSELS Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:53pm EDT

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Customs officials seized fake goods worth more than one billion euros ($1.4 billion) at European borders last year as they paid more attention to shipments ordered online, the European Commission said in a report on Thursday.

China was the source of 85 percent of the fakes, with substantial quantities of counterfeit goods also from Turkey, Thailand, Hong Kong and India.

Nearly 80,000 incoming packages were seized in 2010, containing counterfeit goods such as cigarettes, clothing, toys and medicines. That was nearly double the number from the previous year, due to more investigations into postal shipments for online orders.

The 103 million items seized would have had a value of more than one billion euros if sold as authentic goods, the report said.

"The goods are entering the EU in smaller packages but in bigger numbers, which gives an additional workload for customs," EU customs commissioner Algirdas Semeta said.

He said nearly 50,000 of the packages intercepted last year were in the post. Medicines such as fake Viagra and diet pills made up more than two-thirds of the items destroyed.

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