Annual illicit turnover of 5 billion euros at expense of legal trade

One out of every three euros spent by consumers goes on illegally sold goods, a trade that has become a major headache for the Greek market. Meanwhile, illegal imports and bootleg copies of brand names account for 5 to 7 percent of the world market. Although for obvious reasons turnover cannot be precisely estimated, market sources believe it accounts for about 30 percent of the total value of trade carried out in Greece over a year, involving about 40,000 people. Trade in goods of dubious quality from countries outside the European Union is carried out in 212 areas of Attica, according to the Special Inspections Service. Apart from clothing, accessories, CDs, sunglasses, even farm products, it has been estimated that on a weekly basis about 150,000 bootleg leather goods (bags and wallets) are sold, and about 75 percent of the annual turnover on sunglasses comes from contraband sales. Market sources claim that total annual turnover from the trade amounts to over 2 billion euros, half of it in Attica. That does not include the illegal trade in fruit and vegetables, estimated at 3 billion euros, at the expense of the legal market and in lost taxes. Just a few months ago, a French-language newspaper in Greece said the bootleg trade represented 5 to 7 percent of world trade and a loss of 200,000 jobs a year. «In Greece, as in France,» it reported, «the phenomenon has had a negative effect on the economy and on… investment. Over 100 million imitation brand products are seized in Greece every year.»

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