BETHESDA, Md. — The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) should relist the e-commerce platform Alibaba and its subsidiaries Taobao and AliExpress as notorious markets that facilitate the sale of counterfeit auto parts, the Auto Care Association (ASA) has told USTR.
"Despite Alibaba's efforts to address the proliferation of counterfeit products, our members report that their brand protection tools and enforcement program have been unsatisfactory," ACA President and CEO Bill Hanvey said in comments the ACA transmitted to the agency Oct. 2.
The ACA submitted its comments in reply to USTR's Aug. 16 request for comments reviewing "notorious markets" for counterfeit goods to create its 2017 Notorious Markets List.
Alibaba, Taobao and AliExpress all eminently deserve to be on the list, according to Mr. Hanvey.
ACA members view counterfeit auto parts from China as a critical issue, Mr. Hanvey said, and online distribution of counterfeit parts alongside legitimate distribution channels is proliferating.
"Although Taobao was included on the 2016 Notorious Markets List, we strongly urge that all three online sites be included as Notorious Markets in the 2017 report," Mr. Hanvey said.
Several ACA members have reported to the association that the majority of auto parts, tools and equipment marketed on all three websites are counterfeit, he said.
"Nearly all listings advertising our members' branded products are counterfeit, and it is very difficult to purchase a legitimate product from Alibaba's websites," he said.
Furthermore, Alibaba's response to ACA members who want to eliminate the sale of counterfeit parts is inadequate, according to Mr. Hanvey.
"Alibaba reported that it added a good-faith takedown mechanism to simplify the takedown submission process," he said. "However, our members report that the enforcement program is still difficult to use and not enough to discourage merchants from selling counterfeit products."
Mr. Hanvey listed the methods the ACA would consider adequate to block the sale of counterfeit parts, including:
• Easy brand certification;
• Brand-controlled takedowns;
• Brand-approved sales;
• Pre-emptive monitoring;
• Seller certification and education; and
• Transparent verification of progress.