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ITA Ensures the Recall of Counterfeit Sporting Goods in Egypt

Friday, June 21, 2013

(ITA)  The Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) helped Nike, an Oregon-based consumer goods firm, overcome a high-profile intellectual property issue that risked damaging the company’s market share in Egypt and its international brand.

Why it matters

Intellectual property contributes significantly to the US economy and is important to many industries, including footwear and apparel. The outcome in this case – the Egyptian Olympic Committee (EOC) recalled the counterfeit sporting goods and allowed Nike to provide genuine products to Egyptian athletes – helped draw public attention to the importance of respecting U.S. intellectual property rights.

The problem

The Egyptian Olympic Committee (EOC) published a tender for the supply of “sports outfits” for the Egyptian delegation travelling to the 2012 London summer Olympics. The EOC awarded the contact to an unauthorized distributor, which provided the athletes with counterfeit uniform kits. Nike’s authorized distributor in Egypt, Allied Trading and Consultancy, approached the EOC on several occasions about replacing the counterfeit uniforms with the legitimate product, but failed to receive a response from the EOC.

The solution

ITA and U.S. embassies in Brussels, Cairo and London engaged with Nike, the Government of Egypt and its embassies in Washington, D.C., and London. This multi-channel engagement supported Nike's efforts and resulted in the EOC’s acceptance of genuine Nike goods for the Egyptian athletes competing in the London 2012 Summer Olympics. In addition, the Government of Egypt indicated it will open an investigation into the EOC procurement practices.

Working closely with U.S. companies, ITA creates, expands, and defends market access for U.S. goods and services overseas through the Trade Agreements Compliance Program. “We promote policy that develops a more favorable business climate for U.S. companies in global markets; we employ commercial diplomacy to resolve trade barriers; and we leverage our bilateral and multilateral trade agreements to ensure our trading partners live up to their commitments so that our businesses can compete on a level playing-field.” - Assistant Secretary for Market Access and Compliance, Michael C. Camuñez.