Federal seizures of counterfeit goods nearly doubled last year, reflecting increased enforcement by U.S. agents and a booming economy of illicit products from overseas, says a federal report quoted by USA Today. Agents from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) made 14,675 seizures of fake goods, up from 8,022 in 2005. Agents arrested 219 people in 2006, up from 172 in 2005. Four out of five of the bogus items came from China and Hong Kong.
Knockoffs of name-brand shoes accounted for 41 percent of the items seized in 2006. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates counterfeiting is a $250 billion-a-year business. Caroline Joiner of the chamber’s anti-counterfeiting and piracy initiative said, “The volume of trade is going up and the volume of illicit trade is going up in equal, if not greater, numbers.” Estimated value of the items seized in 2006 was $155 million.