EU Says Counterfeit Imports Double In 2008

BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union said seizures of fake branded goods more than doubled last year from 2007 as customs officials discovered far more counterfeit DVDs, CDs and cigarettes at EU borders.

It said customs authorities seized some 178 million counterfeit goods last year, compared with 79 million a year earlier.

Some 79 million fake DVDs and CDs make up the largest portion of that, followed by clothing and accessories. DVD seizures were up 2,600 percent from 2007, it said.

Some 20 million of these items were potentially dangerous to health and safety, officials said, because fake toys, medicines and electronics don't meet EU standards.

China is the main source of fake goods overall, the EU executive said. Indonesia was the main supplier for fake food and drinks, the United Arab Emirates for counterfeit cigarettes and India for medicines.

Viagra, an erectile disfunction drug, is the most popular counterfeit medicine, the EU said. Anti-cholesterol, anti-osteoporosis or medicines to control high blood pressure are also widely faked, it said.

The EU said it had no figures to asses the total value of the trade of counterfeit goods in Europe. It did not include losses to industry from pirated music or films traded over the Internet.

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