201612.22
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Alibaba re-listed as a top US counterfeit concern

Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company which provides sales services to both consumer and business users has been placed back onto the United States Trade Representative (USTR) office’s notorious markets list. The USTR have argued that their decision to place Alibaba back onto the list stems from the Chinese company’s online retail platform, Taobao, being a hive of fake goods which are for sale to the public.

The USTR notorious markets list identifies companies known for the sale of counterfeit goods and for intellectual property rights. Inclusion on the list does not carry any penalties, aside from the damage to the credibility of the firms who find themselves placed on it.

The decision has been controversial given the current political climate in the US. President-elect Trump continually accused Chinese firms of stealing intellectual property during his campaign trail and it is believed that the political landscape of the US has influenced the decision of the USTR. The Chinese tech giant certainly thinks that this is the case.  Alibaba Group President Michael Evans questioned what exactly the decision by the USTR was founded on, questioning whether it was “based on actual facts or was influenced by the current political climate.”

Alibaba was removed from the list in 2012 after it made efforts to address the issues which intellectual property rights holders had over the authenticity of the goods which were for sale on the company’s platforms.  The Chinese firm have pointed this out, arguing that the USTR have not taken into account the continued efforts of the company in tackling the high quantity of counterfeit goods which are made available for sale.

Yet, the decision seems set to remain. The USTR have acknowledged that Alibaba have improved efforts to tackle the sale of counterfeit goods but the levels of those goods still remain too high to warrant removal from the list.