Counterfeiting: AAFA rallies against Meta, Shopee
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) has called on the U.S. government to blacklist the Meta Group (Facebook) and Singapore-based e-commerce group Shopee, because of the large number of misleading ads and counterfeit goods featured on their sites. AAFA also cited the cases of Alibaba, Lazada and Amazon in this respect.
Each year, the U.S. federal government compiles a so-called Notorious Markets List containing websites that commercialise counterfeit and pirated goods. The latest edition of the report listed 42 e-commerce sites and 35 brick-and-mortar retailers, mostly from Asia. AliExpress and Taobao (both owned by Alibaba), Indiamart, Phimmoi, Pinduoduo and WeChat (owned by Tencent) were among the main names listed. The aim of the report is to support the authorities with regards to future sanctions imposed on these retailers, and to encourage the latter to be transparent in fighting counterfeiting.
But AAFA no longer wants to see sanctions imposed on foreign groups only. For the third time, the association intends to place Meta (owner of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) on the blacklist, “due to the proliferation of fraudulent advertisements and the abundance of counterfeit products available on its platforms.” An accusation that is all the more strategic as Meta remains comfortably top of the online advertising investment leaderboard, and is now relying heavily on ‘Reels’ videos to boost social shopping opportunities on its sites.
AAFA has also asked that Shopee be included on the next list, whose publication is expected at the start of 2023. The Singaporean e-commerce site recorded a revenue of €1.73 billion in Q2 2022, and has made the headlines this year by generating more sales outside China than Chinese giant Alibaba. And while Alibaba has decided to use its South-East Asian arm Lazada to try to make inroads into Europe, Shopee has set its sights especially on the US market, where it intends to grab market share from Amazon.
The latter was also mentioned by AAFA, which indicated that it has raised concerns about the range of products available on Amazon in its message to the authorities. The same concerns were expressed with regards to Alibaba Cloud and Lazada. AAFA’s efforts are part of its fight against counterfeiting, notably focused on the dangers caused by fake products. An independent study carried out on AAFA’s behalf and published in March found that of 47 counterfeit products tested, over a third did not meet U.S. safety standards.
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