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Greenhills mall makes US list of ‘notorious counterfeit markets’

THE GREENHILLS Shopping Center in San Juan City was listed by the Office of the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) as a “notorious market for counterfeit goods” for 2023

“Greenhills Shopping Center is a large mall with many storefronts selling counterfeit goods, including electronics, perfumes watches, accessories and fashion items,” according to the USTR 2023 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy published on Jan. 30.

The review, which the office started gathering data for in August last year, identified 39 online markets and 33 physical markets with sellers of fake goods.

Taobao, Shopee, and DHGate were among the prominent online commerce sites in the list.

The USTR also included Bejing’s Silk Market, the Heera Panna indoor market in Mumbai, and the MBK Center in Bangkok among the physical markets with sellers of fake products.

Greenhills management is planning on converting the shopping center into a high-end mall with legitimate vendors, the US office said.

“Rights holders acknowledged the strong partnership between various government agencies and the mall management but said they will need to wait and see (about) the results,” the USTR said, referring to Greenhills.

The shopping center was also on the list a year earlier.

The USTR said the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has been working with Greenhills management to go after and sue vendors of counterfeits operating in the shopping center.

“Many raids have been conducted, but (Greenhills vendors) still sell counterfeit products,” Rowel S. Barba, director general of the IPOPHL told BusinessWorld in a Viber message, after being asked to comment on the report. 

The USTR said counterfeit goods often pose health risks and are made without regulatory oversight and do not adhere to safety protocols.

It started publishing the list of notorious markets in 2011 with the goal of increasing public awareness and to help market operators protect US workers and businesses.

The Bureau of Customs has said that it seized illicit goods valued at P42.5 billion as of Dec. 1, with counterfeits accounting for the bulk of seizures at P24.36 billion.

“This year’s Notorious Markets List is significant because it underscores the potential dangers of counterfeit goods and why robust enforcement to combat trade in these goods is important to growing our (US) economy from the middle out and the bottom up,” US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in a statement.

“The trade in counterfeit and pirated goods harms workers, consumers and small businesses, and ultimately hurts the US economy.” — John Victor D. Ordoñez