The Australian Border Force (ABF) has seized more than 190,000 individual items of counterfeit and pirated goods, worth about $16.9 million, during the 2015-16 financial year.
The items, which were seized at the border, include toys, clothing, cosmetics, electronic appliances, mobile phones and phone accessories.
ABF Commander Customs Compliance, Erin Dale, said while many people believe importing counterfeit or pirated goods is a victimless crime—that simply is not the case.
“Counterfeit and pirated goods not only rob legitimate businesses of income, but can also present a serious safety risk to consumers,” Commander Dale said.
“While many counterfeit goods look similar or even identical to the real thing, items such as hair straighteners and mobile phone chargers can be dangerous or even life-threatening.
“Consumers buying counterfeit items are not only receiving a flawed and potentially dangerous product, but are also supporting an illegal trade, with the sale of counterfeit goods often linked to serious criminal activity.”
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that international trade in counterfeit products represents up to 2.5 per cent of world trade, or as much as AU$618 billion.
Commander Dale said the ABF has an important role in facilitating legitimate trade whilst enforcing the laws that protect intellectual property rights holders and ensuring the safety of the Australian community.
“Consumers can do their part in combating counterfeiting by not purchasing from unofficial sites or sources and by taking care not to bring counterfeit goods back into Australia when returning from overseas,” she said.
The ABF enforces intellectual property rights through Australia’s Notice of Objection Scheme, which enables it to seize importations of counterfeit and pirated goods at the border.
IP rights holders can take action against importers of counterfeit goods by lodging a Notice of Objection with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
You can report suspicious behaviour to Border Watch through its website at border.gov.au