USTR accuses Tencent and Alibaba of letting sellers tamper with counterfeit products on ‘notorious markets’ list
In an announcement Thursday, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) said it had first named AliExpress, an online marketplace run by Alibaba, and WeChat, Tencent’s ubiquitous mobile app, as “marketplaces that would facilitate trademark infringement.”
The annual list includes 77 entities allegedly involved in “copyright counterfeiting or piracy”, covering more than a dozen countries.
Intellectual property protection “is at the heart of our business,” the company continued, adding that it takes steps to crack down on violations on its platforms “including education, enforcement, and working closely with rights holders, government agencies and law enforcement agencies”.
Alibaba and Baidu did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In its 56-page report, the USTR claimed that “China continues to be the world’s number one source of counterfeit goods.”
“Counterfeit and pirated goods from China, as well as [transferred] goods from China to Hong Kong, accounted for 83% of the value” of those items seized by U.S. Customs and border agents in 2020, according to the trade agency.
China’s commerce and foreign ministries did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“The global trade in counterfeit and pirated goods undermines critical US innovation and creativity and harms American workers,” USTR Ambassador Katherine Tai said in a statement Thursday.
“This illicit trade also increases the vulnerability of workers involved in the manufacture of counterfeit products to abusive labor practices, and counterfeit products can pose significant health and safety risks to consumers and workers around the world.”
— CNN’s Beijing bureau contributed to this report.