Several Amazon.com websites in Europe have been added to the U.S. list of “Notorious Markets” for counterfeiting and piracy.
The websites are named in the list released on Thursday by the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). The list which is updated annually, identifies e-commerce websites and companies deemed to be facilitating the sale of counterfeit goods and engaging in intellectual property violations or piracy.
Amazon websites in the U.K., Germany, Spain, France and Italy were named in the 2020 report.
Critics have long complained that Amazon doesn’t screen third-party sellers on its marketplace or make it clear to brands and consumers “who is selling the goods.”
In 2018, The American Apparel & Footwear Association complained about Amazon and urged the trade representative to include some of its websites on the list of the fake product sites believed to be selling counterfeit, unsafe and expired goods.
Some of Amazon websites were added first time to the list in 2019. USTR has identified notorious markets in the Special 301 Report since 2006.
But the E-commerce giant says it strongly disagrees with the continuous inclusion of its websites to the list, describing it as a “purely political act” and an example of President Trump’s administration “using the U.S. government to advance a personal vendetta against Amazon.”
“Including Amazon in this report is the continuation of a personal vendetta against Amazon, and nothing more than a desperate stunt in the final days of this administration,” an Amazon spokesperson told CNBC in a statement. “Amazon does more to fight counterfeit than any other private entity we are aware of.”
Throughout the past four years of his administration, President Trump has been critical of Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos, according to reports.
Jeff Bezos, the World’s richest man, owns The Washington Post, which President Trump has repeatedly criticized for its unfavorable coverage of his administration throughout the 4 years of his Administration.
Amazon claimed it didn’t win a Pentagon cloud-computing contract, which could be worth as much as $10 billion, as a result of political attacks against the company and its CEO.
But Amazon websites are not the only sites and companies named on the “Notorious Markets” list. Also included in the list is China’s largest e-commerce platform, Taobao.com, which is owned and operated by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd BABA.N. Others are the Chinese e-commerce website Pinduoduo, South American e-commerce company Mercadolibre and the file sharing website The Pirate Bay. Some websites operated out of Indonesia, Poland, the Czech Republic and other countries are also in the list.
“Commercial-scale copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting cause significant financial losses for U.S. right holders and legitimate businesses, undermine critical U.S. comparative advantages in innovation and creativity to the detriment of American workers, and pose significant risks to consumer health and safety,” USTR said.
“The rapid growth of e-commerce platforms has helped fuel the growth of counterfeit and pirated goods into a half trillion-dollar industry. This illicit trade has an enormous impact on the American economy by eroding the competitiveness of American workers, manufacturers, and innovators”, USTR said in the release titled 2020 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy.