The American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), known throughout the fashion industry as the national trade association, recently has decided to re-list one of the most common e-commerce platforms as a Notorious Market. AAFA has called out Chinese company Alibaba and its other e-commerce platforms due to its failure to meet rules and regulations.
AAFA made the request as part of a submission for the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) 2016 Special 301 Out of Cycle Review of Notorious Markets. This list is published every year to highlight any companies that facilitate substantial copyright materials including trademark counterfeiting. Currently, the submission totals 118 online and physical marketplaces that allowed and promoted counterfeit merchandise to be sold.
AAFA drew special attention to Alibaba’s neglection of following the USTR’s recommendations on how to prevent the sale of counterfeit goods. "Despite numerous public statements that the company is taking the counterfeit problem seriously, we have yet to see improvements on Alibaba's platforms," Rick Helfenbein, AAFA’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.. Due to research by a Chinese government agency, at least 67 percent of goods sold on Alibaba’s platform Taobao were considered counterfeit merchandise.
Alibaba was delisted from its Notorious Market list in 2012, on the condition that it would improve by fixing the issue of its counterfeit merchandise for sale. Specific requirements were settled in order to take Alibaba off of the infamous list. However, those standards were not met properly by the Chinese-based company. “Those requirements have not been met, and as a result American consumers and our members are paying the price,” said Helfenbein.