Chinese counterfeit goods - hazardous and unsafe

By Tami Stevenson

Since June of 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been conducting enhanced inspections of small parcels arriving in the U.S., mainly from China. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan, what they are finding is that around 13 percent of these Made-in-China packages contain a type of counterfeit product or other contraband that can defraud, harm or even cause death to the user.

    In an article written by Morgan and Peter Navarro, the Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy, that appeared on Fox Business, the CBP has been conducting these enhanced inspections under Operation Mega Flex. It is a CBP initiative that began in June of 2019 as part of a broader Trump administration effort, also involving the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, to crack down on the dangerous flood of counterfeit goods pouring into America from China, often through the distribution networks of e-commerce platforms like Alibaba, Amazon, and eBay.

     According to the article, about a third of the Made-in-China contraband is counterfeited. The Chinese knockoffs uncovered by CBP have included everything from Louis Vuitton bags, Ferragamo belts, Rolex watches, and Apple earbuds to fraudulent China Virus test kits and fake prescription drugs like Lipitor and Viagra. That’s not just a consumer rip off – fake medicines can outright kill you while defective electronics products can burn your house down.

     Agricultural products illegally entering the U.S. have the potential to wreak great havoc with our food supply chains or our personal health. For example, when a deadly African swine fever wiped out over a million pigs, America’s own pork supply was threatened by shipments of potentially infected Chinese pork – the virus can live in raw meat for weeks and frozen meat for months.

     More recently, they said they had seen an influx of unsolicited packages originating from China containing mislabeled seeds. As another example, in June of 2020, CBP specialists intercepted a Made-in-China package containing thirteen unsealed bags filled with vials of blood, plasma, and human urine, all believed to be infected with STDs and STIs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and hepatitis.

     As Operation Mega Flex continues to gather data on these problems, and per the authorities of the presidential Executive Order “Ensuring Safe & Lawful E-Commerce for U.S. Consumers, Businesses, Government Supply Chains, and Intellectual Property Rights,” CBP will increasingly monitor, and if necessary begin to significantly restrict, the flow of Chinese packages into American households.

     If e-commerce platforms like Alibaba, Amazon, and eBay fail to increase their scrutiny of China’s contraband trafficking and continue to refuse to accept their full and fair share of policing this dangerous problem, they will likewise be held accountable, the  article stated.