There's No Faking It: China Seen As World's Top Counterfeiter

India not far behind, new survey shows.

BEIJING (AP) - A survey of four dozen major companies says business leaders regard China and Russia as the worst offenders in allowing product piracy and calls on governments worldwide to do more to protect patents and other intellectual property.

The Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce, which conducted the survey with London's Cass Business School, also listed other offenders including India, Brazil and Indonesia.

China is regarded as the world's leading source of counterfeit goods ranging from Hollywood movies to designer clothes, food products and AIDS medications. Russia also is a growing producer of illegally copied products.

''We are particularly concerned about the risks for consumers from unsafe counterfeit products,'' said Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman and CEO of Swiss food company Nestle SA, in a statement released by the ICC.

The report gave no examples of consumer risks, but China abounds with fake products that have damaged public health, from liquor made of industrial alcohol to counterfeit milk powder that led to babies dying of malnutrition.

The survey, released Monday in Geneva, did not give a figure for the companies' lost potential sales to piracy. But American officials say piracy in China alone costs companies worldwide up to $50 billion a year.

The European Union says two-thirds of all counterfeit goods seized in Europe originated in China, according to the ICC.

Respondents to the ICC survey ranked countries by the strength of their anti-piracy laws, whether governments provide adequate resources to enforce them and public attitudes toward piracy, the group said.

Other countries that were ranked as having the worst protection for intellectual property were India, Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Pakistan, Turkey and Ukraine.

''The mention of these bottom-performing countries shows the problem is indeed worldwide and requires a global solution,'' the ICC secretary-general, Guy Sebban, said in the statement.

''We need to educate policymakers that greater investments in IP enforcement will translate into more jobs and tax revenues, and also help them in the fight against organized crime.''

The survey ranked the United States as having the best protection for intellectual property, followed by Britain, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Singapore and Australia.

Companies surveyed said they spend about half of their research and development budgets on technology and strategies to thwart product pirates, the ICC said.

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