Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association and Seventeen Other Organizations in a Coalition Call for Alibaba.com and its Consumer Portals to Be Identified for Selling Counterfeit Goods
Washington, DC. – The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) today joined 17 organizations worldwide who are urging the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to identify popular websites and physical marketplaces known to traffic in counterfeit goods on its annual Notorious Market Report.
“Counterfeiting’s victims are everywhere,” states a letter to USTR signed by MEMA and the other organizations representing diverse industries. “Companies, whose brands are stolen through counterfeiting, lose sales and markets, which hurts their ability to employ workers and grow their businesses. Consumers, who unwittingly buy counterfeits, become subject to numerous health and safety concerns. Finally, working conditions in factories making counterfeit goods are abysmal.”
This coalition is just one step in a multi-faceted effort by MEMA and its division, the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) to encourage the U.S. government to pressure businesses known to traffic counterfeit goods to stop the practice. Earlier in October, MEMA urged USTR to identify popular websites and physical marketplaces known to traffic in counterfeit goods on its annual Notorious Market Report.
Among the websites that MEMA has specifically requested be considered for the list are business-to-business web portal Alibaba.com, its consumer portal AliExpress.com, and its consumer-to-consumer portal TaoBao.com. Alibaba.com connects Chinese manufacturers with overseas buyers and is the world's largest retailer, AliExpress.com is an online retail service made up of mostly small Chinese manufacturers and distributors offering products to international online buyers, and TaoBao.com, which functions like eBay.com, is reported to be one of the 20 most-visited sites globally and features nearly a billion products. All three sites are selling counterfeit automotive parts, MEMA and its members argue.
“This is a safety issue, and we need to take action,” said MEMA President and CEO Steve Handschuh. “Counterfeit motor vehicle parts create a hazard on our roads. Goods offered as genuine brands and readily available on popular websites hurt our economy and put our companies and jobs at risk, but more importantly they imperil public safety.”
“When motorists and repair technicians unknowingly buy these readily-available counterfeit parts, they likely have no idea that what they are installing is inferior and potentially dangerous,” said Bill Long, president and chief operating officer of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association, the light vehicle aftermarket division of MEMA.
Organizations joining MEMA in signing the letter include: American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA); AFL-CIO; Auto Care Association; Fashion Accessories Shippers Association (FASA); Fashion Jewelry & Accessories Trade Association; Rubber and Plastic Footwear Manufacturers Association; Travel Goods Association (TGA); UNION DES FABRICANTS (UNIFAB); Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH (HFS); Istituto di Centromarca per la lotta alla contraffazione (INDICAM); Norwegian anti-counterfeiting group (NACG); and Asian Coalition Against Counterfeiting And Piracy (ACACAP).
While Alibaba, TaoBao, and other online sites have been listed in the Notorious Market Report in the past, the USTR removed TaoBao.com from the list in 2012 with the stipulation that it “decrease the time required for taking down listings of counterfeit and pirated goods and to ... achieve a satisfactory outcome with U.S. rights holders and industry associations.” In 2015, after significant input from MEMA and other stakeholders, USTR did not list Alibaba.com or its affiliated websites in the 2015 Report but did specifically direct Alibaba to undertake “stronger and more efficient systems for addressing right holders’ concerns . . . without delay.”
“While Alibaba executives have made numerous announcements a few months ago on ways they intend to address these issues, no changes have been implemented to date,” today’s letter says. “We look forward to working with Alibaba, the U.S. government, and with other stakeholders to achieve real change on Alibaba platforms.”
The full text of the multi-industry letter is available here. The full text of the MEMA USTR letter is available here. MEMA will continue to work with the USTR and enforcement agencies on addressing sales of counterfeit parts to protect the intellectual property rights and brand reputations of its motor vehicle parts supplier members.
The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) and its four specialized divisions comprise the leading international trade association in the fast-changing mobility industry. Representing vehicle suppliers that manufacture and remanufacture components, technologies, and systems for use in passenger cars and heavy trucks, MEMA works to ensure that the marketplace and legislative and regulatory environment support the development and implementation of new technical capabilities transforming the automotive industry, including autonomous vehicles and vehicle connectivity. By directly employing more than 734,000 Americans and generating a total employment impact of 3.6 million jobs, MEMA’s member companies are the largest sector of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. MEMA’s members are represented through four divisions: Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA), Motor & Equipment Remanufacturers Association (MERA) and Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA). For more information on how MEMA is leading transformation in the mobility industry, visit www.mema.org.
Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association exclusively serves manufacturers of aftermarket components, tools and equipment, and related products which support 710,000 employees in the United States. AASA is a recognized industry change agent – promoting a collaborative industry environment, providing a forum to address issues and serving as a valued resource for members. AASA is the light vehicle aftermarket division of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA). “AASA, The Voice for the Automotive Aftermarket Supplier Industry.”