Alibaba Group President Michael Evans issued the following statement after the release of the Special 301 Report from the Office of the United States Trade Representative:
We are very disappointed by the USTR’s decision to include Taobao on its “notorious markets” list, which ignores the real work Alibaba has done against counterfeiters. In 2016 alone, we proactively removed more than double the number of infringing product listings than in 2015. It is therefore unreasonable for the USTR to have concluded that Alibaba is less effective in anti-counterfeiting than when it reviewed our efforts in 2015 and when it removed us from its list four years ago.
Our results speak for themselves. Unfortunately, the USTR’s decision leads us to question whether the USTR acted based on the actual facts or was influenced by the current political climate. Nevertheless, the decision sends the wrong message and is inconsistent with the effective collaborative approach we have taken with brands and governments around the world in our fight against counterfeiting.
The more than 100,000 brands that operate on Alibaba’s marketplaces cannot all be wrong—they are a clear demonstration of the trust that rights holders place in Alibaba. We are very proud of our highly robust anti-counterfeiting programs and believe we have dedicated far more personnel, financial resources and advanced technologies toward protecting intellectual property than any other e-commerce company. Despite this counterproductive action by the USTR, we remain fully committed to protecting the IP of rights holders, both through significant proactive measures and working with brand owners, to combat counterfeiting online and offline.