Patrick Kilbride Patrick Kilbride
Senior Vice President, Global Innovation Policy Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
John Leonard John Leonard
Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner of Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Published

August 24, 2023

Share

What happened: On Aug. 10, officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) signed a five-year renewal of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) creating a groundbreaking public-private partnership to fight counterfeit products entering U.S. markets. 

Small packages: Following the MOU re-signing, industry representatives toured the John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) international mail facility. Small parcels entering the United States via U.S. mail are a vital distribution channel for global counterfeiters, meaning that fake, illicit, or sub-standard products are now being delivered directly to the consumer’s door. 

Big data: The MOU, initially announced in May 2021, established a pilot program between CBP and the Chamber to share information and connect resources in efforts to combat the flow of counterfeit goods. In the two years since the MOU was enacted, CBP and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have worked together to share data on known or suspected intellectual property rights violations and violators, helping law enforcement authorities gather the data network to target examinations and seizures at the border and investigate and prosecute criminal actors. 

A knowledgeable consumer: CBP and the Chamber, and industry partners, have collaborated on multiple public awareness campaigns highlighting the dangers associated with counterfeit goods. The current campaign provides consumers with five tips to avoid counterfeit products in their back-to-school shopping. Previous joint efforts, such as the holiday campaign, reached over 80 million consumers. 

  • John Leonard: “CBP is committed to disrupting the flow of counterfeit goods to ensure the safety of American consumers. The dangers associated with counterfeit goods are real, and even though people may think they’re getting a great deal by buying a cheap phone or makeup, sometimes they’re also taking on serious risks to their health. Public-private partnerships are critical to spreading the word and ensuring families have the information they need to protect themselves.”  
  • Patrick Kilbride: “The more data law enforcement has at its disposal, the better they get at preventing and prosecuting counterfeiters. Through our information-sharing pilot with CBP and our industry presence at the U.S. National IPR Coordination Center, U.S. industry is doing its part to keep U.S. consumers safe and protect American jobs from foreign criminal actors.” 

Why it matters: Counterfeit goods pose significant threats to legitimate U.S. businesses and the livelihoods of American workers. These threats are increasingly prominent with the growth of small parcel trafficking via e-commerce. In the last fiscal year alone, CBP seized nearly 25 million counterfeit goods with a value of $3 billion had the goods been genuine. In some cases, these goods contained harmful chemicals, faulty components, and fake product safety certifications that could have substantial health and safety consequences for the public.   

What you can do: Consumers can report suspected counterfeits via the e-Allegations Online Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT. Find more information about intellectual property rights enforcement efforts on CBP’s website, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s website, and Twitter @CBPTradeGov.  

About the authors

Patrick Kilbride

Patrick Kilbride

Kilbride is senior vice president of the Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC).

Read more

John Leonard

John Leonard

John Leonard is Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner of Trade at U.S. Customs and Border Protection.