BEAMA on the Counterfeit Trail – Again !

The BEAMA team has visited South East China on the trail of counterfeit factories and exporters yet again. This is the 17th time BEAMA representatives have made the trip to take direct action against the very people stealing our business and putting lives at risk by manufacturing and trading in copies and substandard electrical installation products, most of them affording no protection whatsoever – down right lethal !

On arrival into China, we first visited Yiwu, and the huge commodity market located there. Here, there are thousands of shops and retail outlets, plus an inland port and logistics centre. Not all of them selling copies by any means, but there are plenty doing so in the electrical section. We locate 4 high profile traders in this section, inform the local authorities and arrange the raid, all on the same day. They arrange for about 6 officers to accompany us on the raids and the fakes are confiscated. The owners will be given an insignificant fine and told “not to do it again”. We seize a large number of circuit breakers and switches with brands of 6 BEAMA member companies. We treat this as more of an education to the market not to trade in counterfeit electrical products. The penalties certainly aren’t a deterrent but, if it keeps counterfeits of our brand names off these stalls, then we are achieving some of our goals during the work.

We then went to the hub of the counterfeiting manufacturing industry, Wenzhou, and its surrounding suburbs. We’ve identified and arranged 1 warehouse and 1 factory for raiding. We met with 4 officers from the local authorities and travelled in convoy to the first target, a 5 storey warehouse and distribution centre, for distributing counterfeit wiring accessories. It was locked but we soon got in. We found 300,000 copies of one of our member’s products, plus 2 other copy brands that were also involved. The products were seized and the owners will be called to justice. The supply factory is now being investigated.

Next day we visited a large factory, again with the local authorities, in the same area. The factory employed about 200 workers, a huge operation. Many of the products being manufactured were of a Chinese brand, but we found copies of BEAMA members’ products also, about 7,500 fake 13A switches in total, plus thousands of empty packaging, for future production. All were confiscated and taken to the BEAMA warehouse in Wenzhou awaiting a destruction order.

Finally, we made the long trek to an out of town incineration plant to witness destruction from the previous 3 months raids. This demonstrates that the BEAMA initiatives in China oversee the investigation, raid, confiscation and destruction process, a sort of cradle to grave operation. These products should never get into the supply chain of genuine electrical installation products and BEAMA certainly does its bit in helping to keep these products where they should be – in the incinerator. If this work is to succeed long term, we need more of a political will from other enforcement bodies, such as the World Trade and World Customs Organisations and the Chinese Government to do their fair share also. BEAMA are lobbying various authorities in an attempt to improve this. Talk is cheap – what we need is action.

Counterfeit Kills !

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