NEWS » Fines up to €7,000 for buying counterfeit goods from beach vendors?

Fines up to €7,000 for buying counterfeit goods from beach vendors?

When on Italian beaches beware of illegal vendors.

From this summer tourists who pay for massages, tattoos, hair braids and counterfeit products from unauthorised vendors could run the risk of a fine up to €7,000.

According to the ruling called Safe Beaches wanted by Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Salvini, vendors caught selling counterfeit products could face fines of between €2,500 and €15,500 and have their merchandise confiscated. Harsh fines also apply to customers.

The proposed ruling which is expected to be rolled out this summer aims to tackle vendors who sell fake brands and evade tax, damaging legitimate businesses.

Laws relating to the illegal trade in counterfeit goods are already on the statute book. The new decree against vendors and those who choose to buy from them will be enforced by Local police, Carabinieri and the Tax police.

Since 2017, more than half a million of bags, clothes, shoes and accessories have been seized and over 10,000 people have been arrested. 

The damage caused by knockoffs is quite significant, the business association Confesercenti estimates that trade in counterfeit goods totals €22bn a year in Italy, with tax authorities arguably losing out on billions in revenue.

In the first half of last year, the Guardia Finanza tax authorities confiscated €265m worth of counterfeit goods, including clothing and accessories.

According to a new OECD report, gGlobal trade in fake Italian goods such as luxury handbags, watches, foodstuffs and car parts is stealing from Italy’s economy around 1-2% of GDP in terms of lost sales. This resulted in over 25 billion euros in lost sales by Italian companies in a year when Italy’s GDP was 1.6 trillion euros.

The combination of trade in fake Italian products and imports of counterfeit goods resulted in a loss of public revenues in Italy equal to 10 billion euros, or 0.6% of Italian GDP. Counterfeiting and piracy also led to the loss of at least 87,000 jobs in Italy in 2013, equivalent to 2% of the country’s full-time equivalent employees.

The report shows that around half of the fake goods smuggled into Italy in 2013 were sold to consumers who were aware they were buying fake products, with the remaining share purchased unknowingly. The share of fakes bought knowingly in Italy ranges from 15% from food items to 60% for watches and IT and communications devices.

Giulia Lombardo

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