President Trump took action Wednesday to crack down on counterfeit goods sold through third-party marketplaces such as Alibaba, Amazon and eBay, saying it’s a $500 billion industry in phony products that hurt consumers.
Mr. Trump signed a presidential memorandum directing the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies to come up with a plan within seven months to collect data on the scope of the problem and make recommendations how to stop the counterfeiting.
Peter Navarro, director of the White House national trade council, said the president has decided “to clean up this Wild West of counterfeiting and trafficking.”
Mr. Navarro said when consumers order products online, “unless you’re buying directly from the brand … you’ve got close to a 50 percent chance of getting a counterfeit.”
The problem involves everything for poorly made shoes to dangerous drugs, he said.
Third-party marketplace companies have “zero liability” now for counterfeit products, Mr. Navarro said, and the federal Customs and Border Patrol doesn’t have the personnel to get a handle on the problem.
“This is a warning shot across the bow to everybody engaged in this,” Mr. Navarro said. “If you don’t clean it up, the government will.”
• Dave Boyer can be reached at email@example.com.
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