The U.S. Trade Representatives’ annual list of global marketplaces known for counterfeit and pirated goods was released this week, and Alibaba Holdings Ltd. is back on it. The list specifically mentions Alibaba’s flea market-like Taobao shopping platform, which had not made the list in years, citing rights holders’ complaints regarding obstacles to removing counterfeit items from the site. Alibaba responded by saying it was disappointed in the decision and questioned whether it might have been influenced by the current political climate.
Total Retail’s Take: The U.S. Trade Representatives list names and shames both companies and countries that don’t take what the organization believes are the necessary steps to stop counterfeit merchandise. Although the list doesn’t set official U.S. policy, it’s frequently cited in negotiations and interactions with foreign countries, and by lawmakers. Inclusion on this year’s list could result in some rough times ahead for Alibaba.