Amazon’s entire UK site has been placed on the US Government’s ‘Notorious Markets List’ of marketplaces known for counterfeit goods. The US deliveries specialist ParcelHero says the move is not only insulting to UK retailers, but could also have a significant impact on their future US sales.
President Trump’s Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has added Amazon.co.uk to its ‘Notorious Markets List’. The list highlights online and physical markets that ‘reportedly engage in and facilitate substantial trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy.’
For the first time since the list commenced in 2006 it has included Amazon’s UK site, together with the e-commerce giant’s Canadian, German, French and Indian sites. The UK-US delivery specialist ParcelHero says this must be seen as a calculated insult to UK retailers using Amazon.
ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT says, “Usually, America’s Notorious Markets list highlights clearly suspicious sites selling knock-off goods from China or dodgy downloads from Eastern Europe. However, this year it has included Amazon UK on a list of markets that ‘’exemplify global counterfeiting and piracy concerns and because the scale of infringing activity in these markets can cause significant harm to U.S. intellectual property (IP) owners, consumers, legitimate online platforms and the economy.”
‘Specifically, the USTR claims, “Seller information displayed by Amazon is often misleading such that it is difficult for consumers and right holders alike to determine who is selling the goods and that anyone can become a seller on Amazon with too much ease because Amazon does not sufficiently vet sellers on its platforms.”
‘ParcelHero believes that tarring Amazon UK retailers with the same brush as many questionable trading and download sites is out of all proportion and it’s also a slap in the face for UK sellers legitimately selling properly branded products to the US. Amazon’s site is particularly criticised because of “concerns regarding the challenges related to combating counterfeits with respect to e-commerce platforms around the world.” However, ParcelHero believes that Amazon UK and its retailers should not be equated with illegal retailers such as Europa Market, which was closed down last year following its appearance on the Notorious Markets list. That resulted in Romanian police shutting down 900 vendors, arresting 22 individuals, and seizing twelve truckloads of counterfeit goods.
‘Be under no illusion, inclusion on the Notorious Markets List is not a light thing. Last year, more than ten music streaming sites were forced to close after being featured in the list, and many TV sites such as Vader Streams, One Step TV and Omniverse One World Television had their domain names suspended. In addition, there are other ways the US can sanction listed markets. Music download service Mp3va, a ‘notorious market’ featured in last year’s report, significantly dropped in popularity after US credit card and payment processors voluntarily agreed to terminate support for the site.
‘Primarily, the inclusion of Amazon.co.uk as a Notorious Market this year appears to be due to one particular submission to the USTR that was highlighted in the list and cited ‘examples of the challenges right holders face with alleged high levels of counterfeit goods on the e-commerce platforms amazon.ca in Canada, amazon.de in Germany, amazon.fr in France, amazon.in in India, and amazon.co.uk in the United Kingdom.’ This was the submission of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA). The controversial inclusion of Amazon UK based largely on the submission of one trade body that describes itself as the ‘political voice of the apparel and footwear industry’ would seem to be a questionable decision.
‘Even though it’s grave that one trade association’s submission has led to the inclusion of certain Amazon sites in this year’s Notorious Markets list, there may be an even more concerning motive for its inclusion. Last week, ParcelHero voiced concerns that US President Trump is letting his personal feud with Amazon boss Jeff Bezos (who also owns the Washington Post) interfere in his decision to save the US Postal Service. It must be remembered that the Office of US Trade Representative that drew up the Notorious Markets List is part of the Executive Office of the President. It coordinates trade policy, resolves disagreements and frames issues for Presidential decision. It would be concerning if the President were using this Office to pursue his own personal agenda against Amazon and its founder, potentially damaging UK-US trade, and the livelihoods of UK sellers, in the process.
‘It's true that Amazon has not exactly covered itself in glory over its coronavirus response, but the inclusion of Amazon UK on a list of counterfeit and piracy sites is entirely unwarranted. Traders, however, do have alternatives to shipping to the US directly with Amazon. A wide variety of competitive next day, 2 day and 4+ day services are currently showing on ParcelHero’s USA parcel delivery pages, and these are constantly updated to reflect any changes that might be needed.
For all the very latest information on sending a package to the USA, visit ParcelHero's website.