Air Date

December 12, 2022

Featured Guests

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

Anna Dalla Val
Director, Global Brand Relations, Amazon


Tom Quaadman
Executive Vice President, Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness (CCMC), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Executive Vice President, Center for Technology Engagement (C_TEC), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Executive Vice President, Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Senior Advisor to the President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


Ahead of the holiday shopping season, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Shop Smart campaign aims to raise awareness on the issue of counterfeiting and how it negatively affects the American economy, legitimate retailers, and consumers. Trusted partners like the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Amazon have educated millions of consumers with tips to Shop Smart during the holidays and year-round. 

To continue to shed light on this important issue, John Leonard, the Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner of Trade for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Anna Dalla Val, Director of Global Brand Relations for Amazon, joined U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Tom Quaadman for a fireside chat. Together, they discussed how U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Amazon work together with the U.S. Chamber to protect Americans every day from dangerous fake goods.

The Chambers’ Memorandum of Understanding Enables Historic Collaboration on Counterfeiting Enforcement

In May 2021, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Customs and Border Protection signed a first-of-its-kind memorandum of understanding that enabled information sharing to enhance intellectual property rights enforcement in a historic public-private collaboration. For the last year and a half, this memorandum has enabled the agencies involved to combat the sale of counterfeit and pirated goods.

“The beauty of this memorandum of understanding is it allows for a very good flow of information between the rights holders and customs and border protection,” said Leonard. “So by means of this exchange, we can get actionable intelligence that we can get right to our field people to make the seizures."

“This interchange is invaluable,” Leonard continued. “It's broken down a lot of barriers that [would] normally be in place.”

Amazon’s Counterfeit Crime Unit Works to Protect Consumers Year Round

Amazon’s Counterfeit Crime Unit (CCU) is a team of investigators, former federal prosecutors, and other intelligence experts who work to combat counterfeits — not just on Amazon, but those that disrupt the supply chain. From water filters to toilet paper, Dalla Val and her team work with the CCU to ensure counterfeit goods don’t make it to customers.

“We work a lot together with law enforcement,” said Dalla Val. “[Earlier this year,] we were able to share intelligence with the U.S. Homeland Security Investigation and the Los Angeles Country Sheriff Department to seize more than 10,000 counterfeit automotive grills.”

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Changed Tactics for Seizing Fakes in Small Parcels

While e-commerce is an enormous accelerator for the economy, it's also led to a massive increase in the number of small parcels that CBP encounters at ports of entry every day. As such, CBP has had to adjust its tactics to find and seize fakes and small parcels. 

“The amount of small parcels coming into the country has just exploded … we're getting about two million small parcels a day,” said Leonard. “[That’s] almost 700 million per year, and the only way we make sense of it … is to get advanced information on what exactly is in those boxes, parcels, and envelopes.”

One of the pilots is called the Section 321 Data Pilot. CBP reaches out to entities it doesn’t usually regulate, such as online platforms like Amazon, and receives pictures of what's in the parcels. In the last year alone, 162 million parcels came through as part of this pilot.

“[We] got great information to our officers that were able to look at what items we want to examine and possibly seize, and then release the ones that are compliant,’ said Leonard. “So it's been very, very successful.”

Combating Counterfeit Goods Requires Well-Informed Customers and Public-Private Partnerships

According to Dalla Val, Amazon has “zero tolerance for counterfeiters” and “[stands] behind everything [it] sells so the consumer can continue to shop with confidence.”

“We invest significantly to protect our customer … [and] our investments are working,” she said. “We’ll continue to invest and innovate and evolve — not just to keep up, but to stay ahead of these bad actors."

This critical undertaking, however, cannot be done in a silo.

“We are more successful when we work together,” Dalla Val emphasized. “[We want] well-informed customers, [so] we partner with the U.S. Chambers … to educate our consumers.”

She added, “Brands, retailers, and the government all need to work together to eliminate counterfeits from the supply chain.”