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Counterfeits Fake bags and watches lose appeal as souvenirs

A pile of fake Swiss watches headed for recycling

(Keystone)

Customs officials intercepted far fewer counterfeit goods from tourists traveling at Swiss airports in 2016, crediting public awareness campaigns.

There were 1,395 such interventions, down from 2,377 the previous year, the Swiss Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Platform, known as Stop Piracy, reported on Thursday.

Wallets and bags made up just over a third of the seized goods, followed by clothes and accessories, then watches and jewellery, glasses and other personal accessories, the Bern-based advocacy group said, citing Swiss Federal Customs Administration 2016 figures.

Most of the counterfeit products were seized from travellers who came from Turkey (30%), the European Union (26%) and Kosovo (9%).

The group credited its own efforts.

"Our public awareness campaigns at Swiss airports prior to the summer vacation period seem to be bearing fruit,” said Florence Clerc, head of the group’s secretariat.

“In addition, our posters in front of customs control are very clear: it is forbidden to import counterfeit brand name goods and designs into Switzerland, even if only for private use,” Clerc said.

The number of counterfeit commercial goods that customs detained from trade in merchandise, including cargo and online orders, similarly decreased to 3,125, down from 3,621 in 2015. Those federal figures do not include counterfeit medicines.

Most of those bags, watches, jewellery, clothing and other goods, worth CHF32.4 million ($32.5 million), came from China (38.4%), Hong Kong (33.6%) and the European Union (18.5%).


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