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Shoe Firms Band Together in Support of Legislation Against Counterfeiting

Major names in the shoe industry have united in support of new legislation aimed at preventing counterfeit footwear from entering the United States.

Nike, Wolverine Worldwide, Columbia Sportswear and Deckers Brands are among the members of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America applauding the introduction of the Counterfeit Goods Seizure Act of 2019 in Congress.

The bipartisan act — presented yesterday by Senators Thom Tillis (Republican-N.C.), Chris Coons (Democrat-Del.), Bill Cassidy (Republican-La.) and Mazie Hirono (Democrat-Hawaii) — would give the U.S. Customs and Border Protection more tools to end enforcement loopholes that have allowed counterfeiters to ship identical-looking products without trademarks and attach them after the items clear customs.

“Footwear companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to design, produce and ship innovative footwear to Americans,” said Matt Priest, president and CEO of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, which issued a statement yesterday backing the proposed law. “Counterfeit footwear threatens jobs in our industry and puts our consumers’ trust at risk.”

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According to a study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, roughly 88% of the counterfeit goods in the U.S. originate in China or Hong Kong. However, counterfeits can often be difficult to catch, as some products are mislabeled, smuggled in underneath other items or with brand markings applied after crossing the border.

A report from the Better Business Bureau showed footwear as one of the top three most-seized counterfeit product categories in 2017, alongside apparel and accessories as well as watches and jewelry.

“This is an important time to enhance consumer protection as the growth of e-commerce has made it easier than ever to trick consumers into purchasing counterfeits and knockoff products,” said Mike Jeppesen, Wolverine’s president of global operations. “It is time for the U.S. to implement this proven mechanism for protecting suppliers and consumers.”

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