Colombia Sees Flood of Pirated Chinese Shoes

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The Colombian trade in pirated goods is worth between $4 to $5 billion a year, according to a report, which notes that some 12 million pairs of shoes illegally entered the country from China in 2011.

El Colombiano reports that other products which are often pirated in Colombia include music, books, software, clothes, and medicine.

Alcohol is also commonly pirated — a 2011 study found that one in every two bottles of liquor sold in the northern Antioquia province was illegal, reports the newspaper.

InSight Crime Analysis

While the smuggling of contraband goods into the country was traditionally controlled by family-based groups living on Colombia’s coastlines or borders, there are reports that it is increasingly run by neo-paramilitary groups known by the government as BACRIMs. The trade is highly lucrative; customs and tax agency DIAN says the country loses $1.5 billion a year in taxes on smuggled goods.

The contraband business involves fake branded goods produced in Colombia, as well as products illegally imported from abroad. As El Colombiano points out, Colombia has a large domestic industry producing pirated shoes, to join the millions imported from China.

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