The US authorities have put Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba back on the ‘Notorious Markets’ blacklist over the sale of fake goods. The firm was taken off the blacklist four years ago.
Alibaba has rejected the allegations that its online platform Taobao is used to sell “high levels” of fake goods. The company insists it thoroughly inspects the marketplace – better than in the past.
President of Alibaba Group Michael Evans said he was “disappointed” by the decision and questioned whether it was “based on actual facts or was influenced by the current political climate.”
US President-elect Donald Trump had repeatedly accused Chinese firms of stealing intellectual property during his campaign. On Thursday Trump appointed economist Peter Navarro, an outspoken critic of China, as the head of a new US trade body.
Alibaba has been facing a lot of trouble lately. In 2015, more than $50 billion was wiped off its market value, mainly as a result of lawsuits and criticism from Chinese and US regulators.
In December, the US Office of the Trade Representative warned the company to stay off the ‘Notorious Markets’ blacklist it escaped in 2012 and said it would monitor Alibaba’s efforts to fight piracy and respond to complaints.
The company has also been stuck in a dispute with the Chinese government regulator over counterfeit goods, with investors and customers sharing concerns. The watchdog accused Alibaba’s platform of violating the online business laws and regulations. It claimed only 37 percent of the goods on Taobao turned out to be genuine.
Alibaba said that it was “committed to the protection of intellectual property rights and the fight against counterfeiting.” It said it had tightened controls on the sale of luxury goods, requiring sellers to show proof of authenticity.
The company was one of the hottest public stock offerings of 2015. It made IPO history after raising $22.1 billion and valuing the business at over $200 billion. Alibaba was founded by former school teacher Jack Ma 16 years ago.