WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government seized more than $270 million in counterfeit and pirated goods over the past year, a 38 percent increase over 2007.
Electronics, computer network hardware, pharmaceuticals and perfume were among the fakes that posed health or security risks, the Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement divisions of Homeland Security said Thursday.
Shoes and other footwear valued at $103 million, or 38 percent, topped the list of counterfeits seized, the report said.
Most of the goods -- 81 percent -- originated from China, up 40 percent from 2007. India was the second highest counterfeit goods producer, accounting for 6 percent in the value of seized counterfeit goods.
The value of pharmaceuticals, handbags, wallets, and backpacks seized increased more than 100 percent in 2008 over 2007.
"Fake pharmaceuticals can cause harm to the American public because we do not know exactly what the pharmaceuticals are made up and where they came from," said Richard Rocha, a spokesman for ICE. "There's other goods such as soap and toothpaste that might be laden with dangerous material that hasn't been tested here in the U.S."
Rocha credits the increase in seizures to stronger partnerships and collaboration among federal agencies.
Overall, the value of seized counterfeit goods for the past year increased to $272.7 million from $196.7 million in 2007. The number of seizures increased nearly 10 percent from 2007.