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Europe

EU Warns of Surge in Imports of Fake Goods

EU customs authorities say a major increase in the imports of fake drugs, toys and cosmetics poses a threat to consumer health and the economy.

Drug capsules

Fewer cigarettes and CDs, but more medicines are faked, the EU says

A report issued by the European Union on Monday, May 19, says EU customs authorities discovered a 51 percent increase in fake medicines in 2007. Seizures of counterfeit toys were at double 2006 levels, and cosmetic and personal care items were up by 264 percent.

Overall, the report says, the EU registered 43,000 cases of fake goods seized at the bloc's borders, up by 17 percent -- despite a decline in cases involving fake cigarettes, compact disks and DVDs.

Commissioner: Piracy "a serious threat"

The increased number of fakes in sensitive product categories like medicines and toys is "a serious threat to the security and life of our citizens, the consumers," EU Taxation and Customs Commissioner Laszlo Kovacs said.

Kovacs said the EU plans to work more closely with the countries that are the source of the pirated products. China contines to head that list, and is responsible for some 60 percent of pirated products overall.

The key source of faked foods and drinks is Turkey, while most pirated cosmetics and personal-care products are from Georgia, Kovacs said. Most fake medicines have their origins in India, the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland.

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