According to the European Commission, businesses in the bloc lose out €56 billion per year in direct sales because of counterfeit goods. Toys and cigarettes were the most common items confiscated last year.
Officials seized 27 million items that infringed on intellectual property rights at EU borders last year, the European Commission announced on Thursday.
Three-quarters of the goods came from China. 65% arrived by boat, typically in large shipments called consignments. Officials intercepted nearly 70,000 consignments in 2018.
It was a huge increase over the previous year. In 2017, officials confiscated 57,433 consignments worth €580 million ($640 million). However, the total number of counterfeit items went down in 2018.
Read more: China: Authorities bust fake Lego ring
At 15% and 14% respectively, cigarettes and toys made up the largest category of fake goods. These categories were followed by packaging materials (9%), labels, tags and stickers (9%), and clothing (8%).
Counterfeit alcoholic beverages came primarily from North Macedonia, the report shows. Fake beverages, perfume, and cosmetics originated primarily from Turkey while fake computer equipment came largely from India.
EU economic commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the increase in 2018 was due to online sales driving an increase in the number of small packages arriving in the region.
"Protecting the integrity of our Single Market and Customs Union, and effective enforcement of intellectual property rights in the international supply chain are also priorities. We need to continue stepping up the efforts against counterfeiting and piracy," he added in a statement,
The European Commission says businesses in the bloc lose €56 billion per year in direct sales because of counterfeit goods.
kp/kl (dpa, ARD, europa.eu)