Alibaba unhappy about Taobao on USTR blacklist

21 Dec 2016

The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) released its 2016 Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets report on December 22.

Michael Evans, President of Alibaba Group, the China-based e-commerce colossus, posted a blog about his views on this report on the group’s corporate news site Alizila. Evans was appointed to his post partly to spearhead the company’s efforts to combat the proliferation of counterfeit goods on its websites, which has also been criticized by Chinese trade officials.

Below is the full text of his statement:

STATEMENT ON USTR SPECIAL 301 REPORT

By Michael Evans, president of Alibaba Group

We are very disappointed by the USTR’s decision to include Taobao on its “notorious markets” list, which ignores the real work Alibaba has done against counterfeiters. In 2016 alone, we proactively removed more than double the number of infringing product listings than in 2015.

It is therefore unreasonable for the USTR to have concluded that Alibaba is less effective in anti-counterfeiting than when it reviewed our efforts in 2015 and when it removed us from its list four years ago.

Our results speak for themselves. Unfortunately, the USTR’s decision leads us to question whether the USTR acted based on the actual facts, or was influenced by the current political climate. Nevertheless, the decision sends the wrong message and is inconsistent with the effective collaborative approach we have taken with brands and governments around the world in our fight against counterfeiting.

The more than 100,000 brands that operate on Alibaba’s marketplaces cannot all be wrong – they are a clear demonstration of the trust that rights holders place in Alibaba. We are very proud of our highly robust anti-counterfeiting programs and believe we have dedicated far more personnel, financial resources and advanced technologies toward protecting intellectual property than any other e-commerce company.

Despite this counterproductive action by the USTR, we remain fully committed to protecting the IP of rights holders, both through significant proactive measures and working with brand owners, to combat counterfeiting online and offline.

Source: http://www.azila.com/statement-on-ustr-special-301-report

Read an article by Fortune magazine for the other side of the story (go here.)

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Don Gasper

Don Gasper joined the AIM team as a writer and analyst in 2005. Based in Hong Kong, he covers media-industry trends in the Greater China area. He specializes in business and legal developments concerning Chinese companies and has worked for several years as a reporter and editor for a number of daily newspapers in Hong Kong. He later moved on to work as a contributor and editor for various monthly publications and Web sites and has also lectured on journalism and communications at different universities. Don is particularly interested in the development of the Internet and how this is revolutionizing possibilities for business and social communication in China. He took part in the International Federation of Journalists mission to China in 2008 to investigate and advise on media arrangements for the Beijing Olympics. He graduated in Oriental Languages at Cambridge University and went on to study Political Science and Political Economy.