Shady businessmen and companies produce thousands of fake Greek products in China, the UK and the US causing tremendous financial losses to Greek exporters and domestic economy, reported the Panhellenic Exporters Association Jan. 24, adding that “disturbing phenomena of malicious trademark registration of well-known Greek companies have been recorded lately in China, and more particularly in Hong Kong, cases of fraud at the expense of Greek exporters in the Balkan region, Africa and other EU Member States as well as the appropriation of traditional Greek brand names such as Feta and Greek Yogurt in the UK and the US.”
According to news agency Imerisia, the Association describes the three most common tricks of foreign unscrupulous business people played on Greek exporters as follows:
Greek Trademarks Registration
Cases of malicious trademark registrations are common in China and Hong Kong of both Greek and other international companies. Companies representing Chinese interests have been reported to register trademarks of Greek companies and sell their products as imported from Greece in the Chinese market, while the respective applications of Greek companies are still pending.
For example, a Hong Kong based company has recently applied for 145 trademark registrations with 20 of them belonging to Greek companies specializing in the fields of fur and jewellery. The Greek Office for Economic & Commercial Affairs in Shanghai and the General Consulate of Greece in Hong Kong have informed the Greek companies and called them to secure their trademarks rights before it is too late.
Greek Style Products
Gaps in the legal EU framework concerning POD (Protected Designation of Origin) and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) products have been used by companies in third countries, and in the US, in order to claim ownership of feta cheese and other Greek PDO products. A recent survey of the Panhellenic Exporters Association in the US showed that the biggest market shares of feta cheese and Greek yogurt in the country are owned by US based companies referring to Greece (Athenos, Chobani, Oikos, President). However, the products are neither produced in Greece nor from Greek raw material.
Similar cases have been recorded in EU countries too, while a giant UK retail sales company selling Greek Style Yogurt made of milk from the UK is enjoying the high demand observed lately in the Greek product at the expense of Greek export companies.
Shady Business Partners
According to the Panhellenic Exporters Association, another phenomenon has been observed lately in various Balkan and even Benelux countries, in which a business is set up for only a few days for the Greek products to be imported, and then it is dissolved before the Greek exporters receive any payment. Moreover, representatives of foreign companies are reported to have asked Greek exporters to pay for fees that are not covered by law in order to complete the export procedure.