It’s about to be much harder for Chinese shoppers to buy counterfeit luxury goods—even those made in China, reports Slate. The business of importing knockoffs and selling them domestically—as well as the act of re-branding goods made in China as imports—has been “booming in a regulatory gray zone,” but will soon be subject to stricter regulations and tariffs.

The State Council, China’s Cabinet, on April 9 ordered China Customs and other government agencies to crack down on imports of counterfeit goods and products that violate intellectual property rights sold through online outlets. Customs officers were expected to respond by stepping up inspections of parcels shipped to China from abroad.

By evading taxes, many websites have been able to sell imported knockoffs more cheaply than their domestically made counterparts. But it’s not just fake Marc Jacobs bags - “cosmetics, baby care products, and baby formula are among the most popular items imported for Chinese consumers from foreign vendors.”

Some said they’ve never paid import tariffs nor reported data for tax purposes. They said they get away with breaking the rules because customs officers inspect parcels at random, and even when a violation is discovered, the punishment is usually light.

The Chinese government has been trying to crack down on the shady imports for some time now, but people have kept finding ways to thrive. Some, referred to as “flip floppers,” game the system by selling “fake, overseas-branded goods that are actually made in China.”

...The State Council’s latest guidelines have focused attention on how customs agents handle their new mandate to make sure that taxes are paid and imported goods are real.

Whether or not this newest set of guidelines will finally reduce the number of knockoffs has yet to be seen, and Ilana Wexler’s mother has not yet responded to our requests for a comment.

Image via Comedy Central.


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