U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and import specialists assigned to the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport seized 16,340 counterfeit Gucci, Facebook and Instagram women sleeping dresses. If genuine, the seized merchandise would have had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $5,455,214.
CBP officers in coordination with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents assigned to the Trade Enforcement Coordination Center (TECC) seized the counterfeit products on June 12, which arrived from China in a shipment containing 329 bales of clothing. In 189 of those bales, CBP officers discovered the counterfeit products hidden in between generic versions of the sleeping dresses in a clear smuggling attempt.
“CBP continues to be vigilant and commits substantial resources to identifying and intercepting shipments containing goods that infringe on U.S. intellectual property laws,” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. “Counterfeit goods can have significant health and safety consequences and a harmful impact on the U.S. economy.”
Counterfeit sleeping garments may not comply with U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sleepwear flammability standards. According to the CPSC, children’s sleepwear must be flame resistant and self-extinguish if a flame from a candle, match, lighter or a similar item causes it to catch fire. The rules cover all children’s sleepwear above size 9 months and up to size 14.
“In addition to the health and safety risks, consumers should be aware that the money they pay for a counterfeit product often funds criminal enterprises,” said Donald R. Kusser, CBP Port Director of the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport. “It is as simple as ensuring that the products are bought from legitimate sources.”
Available on illegitimate websites and sold in underground outlets, counterfeit commodities multiply the illegal profits of smugglers and traffickers. Consumers are tricked into believing they are buying an original product at a significant discount.
Nationwide in fiscal year (FY) 2019, CBP seized 27,599 shipments containing goods that violated intellectual property rights. The total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the seized goods, had they been genuine, increased to nearly $1.5 billion from over $1.4 billion in FY 2018.
Watches and jewelry topped the list for number of seizures with 4,242 representing 15 percent of all seizures. Watches and jewelry continued as the top product seized by total MSRP with seizures valued at over $687 million, representing 44 percent of the total. Wearing apparel and accessories are second with seizures estimated to be valued at more than $226 million.