Counterfeit consumer goods account for about 50% of Russian market

About 30-50% of consumer goods in Russia are fake. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, this was announced today by Deputy Russian Minister for Economic Development and Trade Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, who spoke at the international conference Counterfeit production-the problems and their solutions. Mr Strzhalkovsky said that up to 50% of perfume and cosmetics, shoes, clothes, detergents, meat, dairy and fish products as well as tea and coffee are falsified.

The deputy minister said that the rising number of falsified food products is particularly worrying. According to the ministry, every third Russian is sold margarine instead of butter and soy instead of meat. The number of counterfeit fish and dairy products has risen significantly recently (especially condensed milk). Also, the level of falsified alcoholic products has also risen. Mr Strzhalkovsky mentioned that 36 thousand Russians died in 2002 from alcoholic poisoning brought on by falsified products. He added that the establishment of supermarket chains such as Ramstor, Kopeika and Pyatiorochka only provide a limited solution to the problem. 3.6 tonnes of food products and 103 decalitres of alcohol were taken off the shelves when the supermarket chain Ashan near Moscow was checked recently.

The number of falsified goods has noticeably risen over the last four years in Russia. Only 850 crimes of this kind were registered in 1999, whereas 2,800 cases were recorded in 2002. The spread of such counterfeit goods has a negative impact on the national economy. Experts believe the country is suffering annual losses of USD 3 billion. In Ukraine this figure is about USD 1.5 billion.

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