The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the Retail Council of Canada (RCC), hereafter “The Retail Associations,” are proud to support World Anti-Counterfeiting Week 2020 (November 16-20) with Underwriters Laboratories to highlight the important role that international cooperation and trade agreements play in combatting global organized retail crime activities such as counterfeiting. Thanks to the efforts of the Underwriters Laboratories Be Safe Buy Real campaign to raise awareness about the harms that counterfeits have on both consumers and the economy, we feel confident that we can continue to reduce the entry of these harmful products into our marketplaces.
One big achievement in this fight against fakes is the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). USMCA contains the most comprehensive enforcement provisions of any trade agreement, —establishing a model for future agreements. It strengthens our North American trading relationships and provides key provisions that will give consumers more choices of affordable quality products. It also creates a cross-border approach for curtailing counterfeit products. As leading retail associations, we are very pleased that USMCA requires “ex officio authority for law enforcement officials to stop suspected counterfeit or pirated goods at every phase of entering, exiting and transmitting through our respective countries.”
While the agreement is an important step, unfortunately challenges remain. The Retail Associations have seen counterfeit goods end up on our members’ store shelves in a variety of ways, including customer “returns” of fake goods. We also know many unfortunate examples of how these harmful products hurt innocent people. The health and safety of our customers, families and society is at risk when we don’t curtail counterfeits.
“As responsible retailers, having the assurance that the products being sold are genuine is vital to protect consumers and build and strengthen retailer and brand trust,” said Retail Council of Canada President and CEO Diane J. Brisebois. “RCC is fully supportive of initiatives that help curtail organized crime and the sale of counterfeit goods.”
Additionally, while the rise of online retail has created new opportunities, ongoing challenges with the sales of fake goods remains a growing problem. As an industry, our members continue to put protocols in place, however this is a broad challenge that involves multiple stakeholders. Through greater cooperation between governments and industry we can continue to educate consumers, establish enforcement protocols and support efforts to put the criminal syndicates who profit from counterfeits out of business.
“Illicit products that would never be allowed on a store shelf or a legitimate retail website can pose a serious risk to consumers, particularly young children,” said RILA President Brian Dodge. “Leading retailers continue to push for basic transparency and accountability measures that will make it harder for bad actors to peddle counterfeit goods across our shared borders.”
We all have a role to play and the retail industry will do our part with safety organizations like Underwriters Laboratories to fight these illegal activities. We applaud both the USMCA and the Be Safe Buy Real initiative as important steps to combat counterfeits.
About Retail Council of Canada (RCC)
Retail is Canada's largest private sector employer. Retail Council of Canada (RCC) members represent more than two thirds of retail sales in the country. RCC is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association that represents small, medium and large retail businesses in every community across the country. As the Voice of Retail™ in Canada, we proudly represent more than 45,000 storefronts in all retail formats, including department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent retailers and online merchants. www.RetailCouncil.org
About Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA)
The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) is the US trade association for retailers that have earned leadership status by virtue of their sales volume, innovation or aspiration. We convene decision-makers to collaborate and gain from each other’s experience. We advance the industry through public-policy advocacy and promote operational excellence and innovation. And through research and thought leadership, we propel developments that foster both economic growth and sustainability.
Our aim is bold but simple: to elevate a dynamic industry by transforming the environment in which retailers operate.About Underwriters Laboratories
Underwriters Laboratories is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the UL public safety mission through the discovery and application of scientific knowledge. We conduct rigorous independent research and analyze safety data, convene experts worldwide to address risks, share knowledge through safety education and public outreach initiatives, and develop standards to guide safe commercialization of evolving technologies. We foster communities of safety, from grassroots initiatives for neighborhoods to summits of world leaders. Our organization employs collaborative and scientific approaches with partners and stakeholders to drive innovation and progress toward improving safety, security, and sustainability, ultimately enhancing societal well-being. To learn more, visit UL.org. To learn more about our for-profit activities visit UL.com.