Counterfeiting involves the reproduction of items without the right to do so from the owners. The concept of counterfeiting is often a pejorative connotation, implying the forged items are also of a poor quality.
In 2005, counterfeiting impacted in almost all spheres of industrial production, be it electronic goods, music production, production of clothing, food production, luxury accessories such as perfumes, and the medical field has also not been spared.
With globalization, trade volume has sharply increased between countries over the years. In essence, these exchanges occur in three areas of economic activity, that is manufacturing, distribution and consumption. The trading activities are constant and vary in volumes, the more trade, the greater the risk that regulatory systems will be found wanting.
Long before the use of banknotes and coins, when people undertook trade activities on the basis of barter trading, there were already some dubious characters who were producing false items and made them pass for the real deal.
Interpol is on record as saying that counterfeiting is not on the periphery of other criminal activities but in the centre of it. The global trade in counterfeit goods is valued at more than five hundred billion dollars, and is rising with the annual growth estimated at 20%.
The trafficking of counterfeit goods is now more active in the area of consumer products and this becomes a real threat to consumers. The connection between organized crime groups and counterfeit goods is well proven. In some countries counterfeiters are liable to a fine of one to two times the value of genuine products, and are also punishable by imprisonment of up to three years.
The counterfeit of bank notes is also quite prevalent in some parts the world, despite the technological advancements made in this regard. And in the yester year, counterfeit money was also employed as a tactic of war by flooding the market with counterfeit banknotes, thereby weakening the targeted economy.
The market most affected by counterfeiting practices is the electronics devices field, and China is the largest supplier of counterfeit goods. In some cases counterfeiting is inspired by technological development which produces relatively inexpensive reproduction equipment. People’s desire for obtaining products at the best price possible also feeds the counterfeiting mill, for example medicinal drugs such as ARV’s are most sought after in developing countries at lower prices.
Counterfeiting rings take advantage of favorable means of transport at their disposal boosted by an increase in container transport which allows for easier hiding of items. This is further worsened by the presence of corrupt customs and police officials, and the availability of unscrupulous shipping companies that are willing to work with the counterfeiting under world.