The counterfeiting of alcoholic drinks costs the European Union’s (EU) member states an estimated €1.2 billion in lost revenue and taxes, according to a new report published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
Fake wines and spirits are starving the industry of almost 5,000 extra jobs, as legitimate manufacturers employ fewer people than they would have done in the absence of counterfeiting. That number, EUIPO said, rises to 18,500 when the consequences of counterfeiting are applied to indirect employment, with more than 8,500 jobs lost in agriculture and 1,300 in the food industry.
In all, counterfeit alcohol represents losses to the EU economy of around €3 billion, EUIPO said.
It is a problem that costs the wine and spirits manufacturing sectors of the EU’s five largest economies – Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Spain – a combined total of €788 million. Italy and Spain – the two smallest of the five major economies – are left to bear the greatest brunt of this.
Europe’s sixth largest economy, the Netherlands, loses €25 million in sales every year.
The report does not set out plans for tackling counterfeiting, but is designed to act as a facilitator for state-by-state legislation to reduce the problem.
The executive director of the EUIPO, António Campinos, said: “The spirits and wine manufacture sector in the EU is overwhelmingly made up of small and medium enterprises, with an average of ten workers per firm. This report shows the economic impact of counterfeiting on this industry, and its consequences for the EU economy as a whole. Our findings are intended to help policy makers as they respond to the challenges of counterfeiting in this crucial economic sector.”
The newly published report is the eighth in a series of studies released by EUIPO via the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights into the economic impact of counterfeiting in industrial sectors in the EU.
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