Alibaba lobbying to stay off counterfeit blacklist

Clara Guibourg
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Jack Ma has said that counterfeit goods "hurt us too" (Source: Getty)

A growing pile of fakes is giving Alibaba a headache.

The US wants to blacklist Alibaba as a “notorious” market for counterfeit goods - but the Chinese e-commerce giant is fighting back.

Alibaba and its bazaar site Taobao were both added to the US Trade Representative’s blacklist back in 2008. After successfully cleaning up fraudsters on the sites they were taken off it in 2011 and 2012, respectively. It appears that fakes have been creeping steadily back, however, and it now seems as though they may be re-included.

The USTR is putting together the latest version of its list, expected to be released within the next couple of months. Several industry bodies have criticised Alibaba ahead of it, for not doing enough to fight widespread fakes on its sites.

Reinclusion on the blacklist could strike hard against Alibaba shares, which are down nearly 29 per cent in the year to date.

But Alibaba is hitting back at the criticism, lobbying to stay off the blacklist. Eric Pelletier, the company’s government affairs chief, has sent formal letters to the USTR that news agency Reuters has seen copies of:

When you step back and look at our overall efforts to combat illicit activities, our track record is clear. We are certainly not perfect, and we have a lot of hard work ahead of us...we will continue to do everything we can to stop these activities.

Jack Ma, the company’s executive chairman, has previously said that counterfeit goods “hurt us too”. He told the Xinhua news agency that Alibaba risks losing five customers for every fake sold on the site - and that the issue impacts not just Alibaba, but the whole Chinese economy.