ECONOMY

Imitation products a costly affair

Some 20 billion euros of imitation and contraband products are sold in Greece every year, robbing the government of billions of euros in lost taxes, according to a trade group. The National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) called on the government on Thursday to increase checks for illegally traded goods, arguing that Greece loses out on more than 5 billion euros in tax revenues per year. «In a period where there is a crisis in consumption, we have an opportunity to make Greek consumers more sensitive and inform them of living without these products,» said Vassilis Korkidis, ESEE’s president, in a statement. ESEE said that up to 10 percent of electrical goods, including gadgets, reach consumers in Greece via the black market, while 15 percent of alcoholic and tobacco products are undeclared to authorities. With almost two-thirds of the imitation and contraband products confiscated by Greek authorities coming from China, the goods often enter the country via the ports of Patra and Igoumenitsa from Italy. They are then passed on to their distribution network through the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, ESEE added.