Washington DC —The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that they are teaming up with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB) in a first-of-its-kind partnership. Fighting counterfeit goods.
Counterfeit sports merchandise generates millions of dollars in revenue for criminal organizations. Last year alone, CBP seized $94 million worth of counterfeit sports memorabilia, apparel and equipment. CBP, the Chamber, NBA and MLB hope that their partnership will help protect consumers and their families from unsafe, substandard products that threaten the health and safety of consumers and expose law-abiding businesses to fair economic competition.
This announcement comes a year after CBP and the Council signed a memorandum of understanding to improve cooperation and exchange information to protect the public and brand owners from criminal counterfeiting.
“The Chamber and the business are proud to continue their partnership with law enforcement to prioritize solutions to eliminate counterfeit and stolen products,” said Chamber Executive Vice President Tom Quadman. “We’re excited to grow this partnership with the truly iconic National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball. Counterfeits have real consequences, and consumers — whether sports fans, parents or small businesses — need to be confident they’re getting what they paid for.”
“Protection of intellectual property is a cornerstone of CBP’s business mission and the results of our collaboration with the Chamber are very exciting,” said John Leonard, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner of the Commerce Bureau. “We look forward to expanding this effort with the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball and encourage sports fans to purchase from trusted sources.”
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, illegal income generates more than 500 billion dollars a year. Last fiscal year, CBP seized more than 26,500 million counterfeit goods, including personal protective equipment, pharmaceuticals, COVID-19 test kits, electronics, clothing, footwear and jewelry.
Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens America’s innovation economy, the competitiveness of American businesses, and the livelihoods of American workers, and sometimes contains ingredients or chemical additives that harm the health and safety of consumers. The proceeds from the sale of counterfeit goods fund criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking, arms trafficking, financial crimes and other illegal activities.
CBP’s Counterfeit Goods, Real Dangers initiative raises consumer awareness of the dangers of buying counterfeit and pirated goods, and the Chamber and CBP have reached millions of people through joint television and radio awareness campaigns to educate consumers about the issue. Under this initiative, leading retailers and customs officials are exploring data sharing in a pilot program.
Consumers can report suspected fraud through the e-Election online reporting system or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.
Additional information on intellectual property rights enforcement is available at CBP.gov and the Global Innovation Policy Center website.