May 30 - Some of France's finest firms from the luxury brands industry including Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton launch publicity campaign to combat global counterfeiting. Hayley Platt reports.
A warehouse in a suburb of Paris packed with designer named goods. But take a closer look and you'll find they're fakes - seized by the authorities. Forgeries of the luxury goods which made Paris a global fashion capital are costing France up to six billion euros a year. Now some of the country's finest including Chanel, Dior and YSL are launching a campaign to combat the global trade. La Coste says there's a human cost as well as an economic one to be considered. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH LUXURY BRAND LA COSTE REPRESENTATIVE NATHALIE MOULLE-BERTEAUX SAYING: "I think we have to keep on repeating the message that at the end of the chain you have workshops which do not respect human working conditions or the environment and that we have to fight against that all together." The number of counterfeit goods seized at French customs is forty times higher than it was 18 years ago. And the trade isn't restricted to handbags and belts, says Chief Customs Officer Agnes Roussel. (SOUNDBITE) (French) CHIEF CUSTOMS OFFICER AGNES ROUSSEL SAYING: "All sorts of counterfeit products, all the way from clothes and accessories to medicines and small car parts that we find in this sort of package." China is the biggest supplier of counterfeit goods - it makes up to 85 percent of fake goods seized by customs in Europe. But most buyers are westerners. Luxury brand Longchamp is also involved in the crackdown. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GENERAL DIRECTOR OF FRENCH LUXURY BRAND LONGCHAMP JEAN CASSEGRAIN SAYING: "A few years ago you had to go to the silk market in Beijing or Bangkok or these kinds of places to bring back your counterfeits and now you can buy them over the internet which makes the issue much much worse than it used to be." Posters are being put up at airports across France in an attempt to deter holiday makers. 'WITH THIS MOBILE, YOU COULD ALWAYS CALL YOUR LAWYER' says one or 'FAKE CARTIER, GENUINE CRIMINAL RECORD' says another. But it may take a little more than that to eradicate an industry said to cost the world economy 1 trillion dollars every year. Hayley Platt, Reuters.