Quarter of key retail goods in Russia counterfeit: report

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Counterfeit good made up almost a quarter of sales in key Russian retail sectors during crisis-hit 2009, according to a new report sent to AFP on Friday.

In nine top-selling sectors -- including alcohol, shoes, pharmaceuticals, tobacco and cosmetics -- Russia saw the proportion of branded fakes rise to 24 percent last year, the study by Moscow's Higher School of Economics said.

"We no longer see a decrease in the number of counterfeit popular brands in Russia: earlier positive trends became negative under the pressure of the financial crisis in 2008-2009," concluded the report, issued Thursday.

Sales of fake goods reached 910 million rubles (29 billion dollars, 22 billion euros), accounting for six percent of Russia's total retail turnover last year, it said.

The study also found that the proportion of domestically produced fakes grew in relation to imports last year.

A flood of imported counterfeit products poured into the newly opened Russian market after the Soviet collapse in the 1990s.

The research was commissioned by brand protection association RusBrand in an effort to raise awareness of the black market in counterfeit goods.

Russia's failure to crack down on counterfeits has long been a stumbling block to its attempts to join the World Trade Organisation.

© 2010 AFP

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