US includes Alibaba’s Taobao in counterfeit sales blacklist

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Beijing, Dec 22 (IANS) The US has included Chinese e-commerce portal Taobao of the Alibaba group, in a list of markets that promote counterfeiting and piracy, a decision which the company hinted Thursday could be motivated by political reasons.

A report by the office of the US Trade Representative ranked Taobao as one of the notorious platforms for facilitating intellectual property rights violations, four years after withdrawing the decision, Efe news reported.

“We question whether the USTR acted based on the actual facts or was influenced by the current political climate,” said Alibaba Group President Michael Evans in a statement.

“We are far more effective and advanced in IPR protection than when the USTR took us off the list four years ago. The decision ignores the real work Alibaba has done to protect IP rights holders and assist law enforcement to bring counterfeiters to justice,” said Evans.

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Although since 2012 no portal of Alibaba has reappeared on US market blacklists, the commercial office did show concern over the latest reports on its practices.

Alibaba has been accused of selling fake products in China as well, according to a 2015 report by the State Administration for Industry & Commerce, which classified Taobao as among those responsible for 41 percent of fake sales online.

In addition, the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, dedicated to the prosecution for piracy and counterfeit products, suspended Alibaba as a member in May over concerns expressed by other members of the coalition after Alibaba joined the group.

Alibaba stressed that it has redoubled its efforts in pursuing the sale of counterfeits through their platforms in recent years, with measures such as cooperation with the police or the organisation of summits involving multinational brands such as Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Apple, Mars and HP.

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