CPB Reports Seizing Record Number of Counterfeit Products in 2017

It isn't just illegal immigrants who are trying to sneak across the border into the U.S.

News Radio 1200 WOAI reports Customs and Border Protection seized a record number of cargo shipments in 2017, because they were either counterfeits, or potentially harmful.

Rick Pauza of CBP in Laredo tells News Radio 1200 WOAI's Michael Board that due to the rise of e-commerce, agents are seeing a large increase in counterfeit products, everything from toys, electronics, and cosmetics.

"From Fiscal 16 to Fiscal 17 it increased by 8%," Pauza says of the counterfeit seizures.

Since Laredo is the largest inland port in North America, he says it stands to reason that Laredo is bearing the brunt of the rise in counterfeit products.

"Generally toys, clothing, electronics, cosmetics," he says.

Just like the guy with seven allegedly Prada handbags on his arm on a downtown street, counterfeiters make money cashing in on a good name of the product for quality or luxury, and make cheap knock offs of products.  The rise on on line buying has made it a lot easier to sell these products to U.S. consumers who think they have gotten a 'great deal' on line.

Many of these counterfeit products are made in Asia, and are shipped into the U.S. from Mexico.

Pauza says much of the increase is due to the strong U.S. economy."As trade increases, we tend to see an increase in counterfeit goods as well," he says.

In addition to being shoddy, many of the products seized are dangerous, like cosmetics which include banned chemicals.

Pauza says the total value of counterfeit products smuggled into the U.S. and blocked by CBP in fascal year 2017 topped $!.2 billion dollars.


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