Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

The Trump administration is targeting U.S. and Chinese e-commerce sites — Amazon, Alibaba, eBay, and others — in an effort to curb an outbreak of counterfeit brand-name products.

What's happening: In a presidential memorandum today, President Trump ordered government agencies to report back by November on how to counteract an estimated half-trillion-dollar-a-year business.

Counterfeiting of the biggest brand names is a major global business. Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce platform, has had a particular problem with counterfeit goods on its Tmall site. The White House estimated that about $100 billion in counterfeiting infringes on American intellectual property.

  • In an op-ed today in the WSJ, Navarro said a problem is that current law doesn't effectively police e-commerce. "Alibaba, Amazon and eBay face virtually no liability when they act as middlemen for counterfeiters," he wrote.

In a statement, an Alibaba spokesman said: “We welcome this new initiative and the attention it brings to the global fight against counterfeiting. Alibaba has developed best-in-class systems to protect IP and battle the scourge of counterfeiting. This work takes place through substantial collaboration with brands, law enforcement, trade associations and consumers, both on our platforms and offline at the criminal sources of production and distribution. We look forward to further advancing the working relationship and cooperation that we have with the US federal agencies mentioned in today's order, as well as with our global commerce peers.”

Ebay and Amazon did not respond to emails.

Go deeper: Amazon's problem with fake goods

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Kayleigh McEnany: Trump will accept "free and fair" election, no answer on if he loses

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday that President Trump will "accept the results of a free and fair election," but did not specify whether he will commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses to Joe Biden.

Why it matters: Trump refused to say on Wednesday whether he would commit to a peaceful transition of power, instead remarking: "we're going to have to see what happens."

Sanders: "This is an election between Donald Trump and democracy"


In an urgent appeal on Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said President Trump presented "unique threats to our democracy" and detailed a plan to ensure the election results will be honored and that voters can cast their ballots safely.

Driving the news: When asked yesterday whether he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses, Trump would not, and said: "We're going to have to see what happens."

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated 1 hour ago - Technology

Amazon launches new Alexa-enabled hardware

Amazon's new spherical Echo smart speaker. Screenshot: Axios

Amazon debuted a range of new Ring, Fire TV and Echo hardware on Thursday, including more environmentally sustainable versions of its audio and video gear. Among the products introduced are a cloud gaming service, a home monitoring drone and new spherical designs for its Echo and Echo dot smart speakers.

Why it matters: Amazon, like rivals Google and Apple, typically gives its consumer hardware a launch ahead of the holidays. Apple has already introduced new iPads, while Google has scheduled a Sept. 30 event, where it is expected to debut new audio and video gear, alongside updated Pixel phones.

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