U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Chamber of Commerce announced that they will be teaming up with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB) on the anniversary of a first-of-its-kind partnership to combat counterfeit goods.
Counterfeit sports merchandise generates millions of dollars in revenue for criminal organizations each year. Last year alone, CBP seized $94 million worth of fake sports memorabilia, clothing apparel, and equipment. CBP, the Chamber, the NBA, and MLB hope this partnership will help protect consumers and their families from unsafe, substandard, and counterfeit products that threaten consumer health and safety and expose law abiding business to unfair economic competition. This announcement comes just one year after CBP and the Chamber signed a memorandum of understanding to improve collaboration and the exchange of information to better protect the public and brand owners from criminal counterfeiting operations.
“The Chamber and business are proud to continue its alliance with law enforcement to prioritize solutions to eliminate counterfeit and pirated goods,” said Chamber Executive Vice President Tom Quaadman. “We are excited to grow this partnership with the participation of the truly iconic National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball. Fake goods have real consequences, and consumers—whether they’re sports fans, parents, or small businesses—should have the confidence that they are getting what they paid for.”
“The protection of intellectual property is a cornerstone of CBP’s trade mission, and the results of our partnership with the Chamber thus far have been very exciting,’ said Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Trade, John Leonard. “We look forward to the expanding this effort with the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball, and we encourage sports fans to shop from reputable sources.”
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates that the global trade in counterfeit and pirated goods generates more than $500 billion in illicit proceeds annually. Last fiscal year, CBP seized more than 26,500 shipments that contained millions of counterfeit items, including personal protective equipment, pharmaceuticals, COVID-19 test kits, electronics, apparel, footwear, and jewelry.
Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens America’s innovation economy, the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, and the livelihoods of American workers and sometimes contain components or chemical additives that harm consumers’ health and safety. The proceeds from sales of counterfeit goods fund criminal organizations engaged in drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, financial crime, and other illicit activities.
CBP’s initiative Fake Goods, Real Dangers raises consumer awareness about the dangers of purchasing counterfeit and pirated goods, and the Chamber and CBP have reached millions of people in joint public awareness campaigns on television and radio to educate consumers on this issue. Under this initiative, leading retailers and customs officials are exploring data sharing through a pilot program.
Consumers can report suspected counterfeits via the e-Allegations Online Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.