Thanks to increased inspection efforts, there has been an uptick in the number of counterfeit goods stopped at the external borders of the European Union. In 2014, the figure was 35.5 million items of a value of EUR 617 million; in 2015, it was 40 million items of a value of EUR 642 million, while it was 41 million items of a value of EUR 672 million in 2016.
In Poland, however, no such trend can be observed – on the contrary, the amount of goods stopped or seized has decreased. In 2014, there were as many as 900 stoppages, but there were only 545 in 2015 and only 510 in 2016. Further, in comparison with the previous year, 64% fewer goods were seized in 2016. The biggest success in 2016 was in stopping 86,000 counterfeit dental drills, while one year earlier there were three cases where shipments containing more than 100,000 fake items were stopped (for a total of 750,000 items).
Taking advantage of the value-added tax exemption still in force for courier shipments of a value of less than EUR 22 from third countries, most criminals are withdrawing from large shipments in favour of smaller postal and courier shipments. This is confirmed by the numbers – postal and courier shipments now account for 73% of the counterfeit goods seized.
Criminals are constantly looking for new ways and routes for shipping counterfeit goods. While the number of seizures declines along Poland’s eastern borders, it surges in other countries. Examples of countries where this occurs include Lithuania, where the amount of goods stopped was more than 50 times that of the previous year, and Denmark, where the increase was 20-fold.
China continues to be the main source of counterfeit goods sent to Europe (80%, or 88% when counting Hong Kong). Most of those goods are cigarettes (24%), toys (17%) and food products (13%). Some other countries, however, have specialized in exporting specific types of goods – for example, smuggled drugs most often come from India, alcohol from Singapore, cigarettes from Pakistan and Vietnam, and clothing from Iran.