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Tips On Stemming the Flood Of Counterfeit Goods

Tips On Stemming the Flood Of Counterfeit Goods

Los Angeles, CA – Despite significant government efforts, China remains the world’s primary source of counterfeit goods, constituting 84 percent of shipment seizures in the US in 2012.

Experts, in fact, predict that the online trade of counterfeit goods in China will surpass the physical trade of such goods in the next two to three years.

The problem seems too vast and overwhelming to surmount, however, says Bob Youill, senior managing director in the Global Risk and Investigations practice of New York-based FTI Consulting, “doing so will never be easy, but it can be done” if companies take the appropriate steps.

In an article published this week in the FTI Journal, Youill, an acknowledged authority on product piracy, makes several suggestions on what US-based exporters, importers, retailers and manufacturers can do to stop the production, distribution and sale of counterfeit goods.

First, he says, declare your intellectual property. An effective anti-counterfeiting strategy for China, he says, “begins with begins with registering the relevant intellectual property rights in China, as Beijing doesn’t automatically recognize IP rights registered overseas.”

That done, writes Youill, “quantify the risk to your brand with in-house counsel working directly with key stakeholders to review the company’s markets inside and outside China and organize those markets into those that must be protected and those that are less important to focus on.”

Next, it needs to be understood that the primary responsibility for managing counterfeiting will rest mostly with in-house counsel and will involve representatives from different corporate functions, including a PR lead, external consultants, and internal stakeholders. To achieve that goal, “build your anti-counterfeit team.”

When considering tackling organized counterfeiting operations, a “best course of action” should be strategized that carefully analyzes various tactics that could include ‘street sweeps,’ Customs watches, administrative action, and civil or criminal proceedings.

Lastly, says Youill, “There are a number of risks to manage when dealing with Chinese authorities, such as controlling sensitive corporate information, fulfilling government requests for documents, overseeing internal reporting and complying with reporting rules. So, learn how to work with them.”

08/15/2014

 

Boxed Imports Expected to Reach All-Time High

Washington, DC – Import volume at major US container ports is expected to hit an all-time record in August as retailers concerned about the lack of a West Coast longshoremen’s contract rush to bring holiday season merchandise into the country, according to the latest monthly Global Port Tracker report.

“The negotiations appear to be going well but each week that goes by makes the situation more critical as the holiday season approaches,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said.

Retailers, he said, “are making sure they are stocked up so shoppers won’t be affected regardless of what happens at the ports.”

Import volume at the ports covered by the Global Port Tracker report, just released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and business consultancy Hackett Associates, is expected to total 1.54 million containers this month.

That’s the highest monthly volume since NRF began tracking import volume in 2000, topping a previous record of 1.53 million set in July and unusually high numbers seen this spring as retailers began importing merchandise early in anticipation of this summer’s contract talks.

The contract between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) expired on July 1 with dockworkers pledging to remain on the job as both sides continue to negotiate a new agreement.

Both sides report that the on-going contract negotiations have been “productive” with the NRF urging both sides to avoid any disruptions that could affect the flow of seasonal back-to-school or holiday merchandise.

US ports followed by the report handled 1.48 million TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) in June, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was down 0.38 percent from May but up 9.1 percent from June 2013. One TEU is one 20-foot cargo container or its equivalent.

July was estimated at 1.53 million TEU, up 5.8 percent from the same month last year, and August is forecast at 1.54 million TEU, up 3.6 percent from last year. September is forecast at 1.48 million TEU, up 2.8 percent from last year; October also at 1.48 million TEU, up 3.3 percent; November at 1.37 million TEU, up 2 percent; and December at 1.34 million TEU, up 2.1 percent.

Those numbers would bring 2014 to a total of 17.1 million TEU, an increase of 5.2 percent over 2013’s 16.2 million. Imports in 2012 totaled 15.8 million. The first half of the 2014 totaled 8.3 million TEU, up 6.9 percent over last year.

The import numbers come as NRF is forecasting 3.6 percent sales growth in 2014. Cargo volume does not correlate directly with sales but is a barometer of retailers’ expectations.

Hackett Associates CEO Ben Hackett said the increases in volume reflect both improvements in the economy and retailers importing merchandise early because of the contract negotiations.

“US GDP has increased in 11 out of the last 12 quarters, confirming that we are in a sustained period of expansion,” Hackett said. “A significant portion of the strong upswing in imports has been due to the labor negotiations, with importers moving up shipments just in case.”

The Global Port Tracker covers container activity at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the US West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades and Miami on the US East Coast, and Houston on the US Gulf Coast.

08/13/2014

US Trade Deficit Surges to Two-Year High

Washington, DC – The volume of US imports surged and exports declined in April, pushing the US trade deficit to a two-year high of $47.2 billion, according to the latest figures released by the US Department of Commerce.

The trade deficit for the month climbed by 6.9 percent from an upwardly revised March deficit of $44.2 billion with imports growing by 1.2 percent to an all-time high of $240.6 billion and exports falling for the fourth month in a row by a rate of 0.2 percent to $195.4 billion.

In 2013, the trade deficit declined by 11.4 percent to $476.4 billion. Some analysts feel the decline in exports can be pegged on the extreme cold weather in the eastern and southern US coupling with the continuing drought in California’s agricultural Central Valley to impact the country’s manufacturing capability and, at the same time, increase the volume of imported foodstuffs.

The same analysts, though, are guardedly forecasting a bounce back with economic growth reaching around 3 percent in the second half of the year as a boom in the nation’s energy sector could well narrow the trade gap. Stronger domestic petroleum production cut oil imports by 10.9 percent during the first quarter of the year, while oil imports in April fell 2.2 percent to $29.8 billion, while conditional US petroleum exports rose 3.1 percent to $11.8 billion.

The US trade deficit with the 28-member European Union hit a monthly record of $14 billion in April as imports from that region hit an all-time high, while the trade gap with China, the largest the US has with any trading partner, jumped 33.7 percent to $27.3 billion in April, the largest gap since January.

The US-China trade relationship has come under scrutiny on Capitol Hill with some lawmakers charging that Beijing is manipulating its currency to keep it undervalued against the dollar. That manipulation, they have said, makes imported Chinese goods cheaper in the US and American-made products more expensive in China.

06/09/2014