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Border Patrol Agents Wage War on Counterfeits and Harmful Imports

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One of the main headaches that legitimate makers of designer bags and gadgets have to contend with is that of the unfair competition brought about by counterfeiters, mostly from China, who try to get their goods into the U.S. markets. Counterfeit items that make their way into the streets and stores are not only disadvantageous for the makers, they are also detrimental to those who purchase them in many ways. They are usually substandard and do not meet the safety requirements set forth by various agencies. Thus, they endanger the health and sometimes, even the lives of their users. Most of the time, they also cause harm to the environment because of the materials they use in manufacturing these fake items. As far as the national economy is concerned, flooding the market with counterfeit goods is potentially harmful.  

Thankfully, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, is always on the watch to ensure that these counterfeits do not pass our country’s ports of entry. Just recently, CBP officers and import specialists working in the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport complex confiscated counterfeit “Hermès” handbags which arrived from China in two shipments. More than 1,500 high-fashion leather handbags were seized, which if they had been genuine, would have fetched a retail price of $14,100,000.

In 2012, approximately $1.26 billion worth of counterfeit goods—most of which were handbags and wallets— originating from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, and Taiwan have been seized by the CBP. This represents the vigilance of CBP officers and specialists when it comes to preventing fake items from proliferating in the market.

Early in February, agents from the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport complex also seized a shipment which contained 445 counterfeit “Beats by Dr. Dre” headphones and 28 all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). The headphones and motorcycles, which were worth $171,499.00, were considered a high import safety risk since they were not certified to meet the EPA emissions standards.  

The CBP works together with the Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center (CTAC) to check if the shipments entering the more than 300 ports of entry in the U.S. are safe. Through enhanced communication and information-sharing and the reduction of redundant inspection activities, the entry of harmful imported products is stopped and American consumers are protected.

In another inspection done in the port of San Juan, Puerto Rico, CBP officers and the Consumer Product Safety Commission investigators also seized shipments of close to 30,000 toys imported into the port because its lead levels were higher than the set legal limits. The toys had a total value of more than $335,000.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency does more than just keep illegal aliens and terrorists out of our borders. Agents and officers also see to it that intellectual property rights of designers and the health and safety of consumers are protected. By seizing counterfeit and harmful items at the ports of entry, they ensure that only the legal and safe products can ultimately make it to the U.S. markets. 

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