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US Apparel Group: Put Alibaba Site Back on 'Notorious' Fakes List

  • Associated Press

FILE - A customer points at a screen displaying a website of Alibaba's Taobao at a rural service center in Yuzhao Village, Tonglu, Zhejiang province, China, July 20, 2015.

FILE - A customer points at a screen displaying a website of Alibaba's Taobao at a rural service center in Yuzhao Village, Tonglu, Zhejiang province, China, July 20, 2015.

A clothing and shoe industry group is calling for the U.S. government to put Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's Taobao site back on its list of "Notorious Markets" for counterfeit goods.

The American Apparel and Footwear Association said Tuesday that "counterfeits remain rampant" on Taobao three years after it was taken off the list.

The group urged the U.S. Trade Representative to return Alibaba to its list of online and physical marketplaces that reportedly engage in or facilitate substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting.

Fakes have been a long-running problem for Alibaba Group. Taobao was first added to the list in 2011 and removed a year later after the company worked with trademark owners to clean up the site.

"Our members face enormous difficulty working with Taobao in solving the problem of counterfeits, meanwhile illegal merchandise continues to proliferate," the association's president, Juanita Duggan, said in a statement.

"The sheer volume of counterfeits on the site as reported by our members, along with the company's unwillingness to make serious reforms" is behind the group's decision to call for Taobao's reinstatement to the list, she said.

Members have complained about "the slow, sluggish, and confusing systems Taobao uses to process takedown requests" for offending listings, the group said. It represents brands such as American Eagle, Jockey, Macy's and Abercrombie and Fitch.

Alibaba said in a statement that it's ready to discuss problems with the group, "however for months they have refused to meet with us."

Earlier this year, French luxury products group Kering SA, which owns Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, filed suit in a New York Court against Alibaba, accusing it of profiting from sales of counterfeits despite its pledge to combat fakes.

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