Alibaba blames politics as Taobao retains place on US government naughty list

It hasn’t been a great couple of weeks for Alibaba in the U.S.. First affiliate Ant Financial’s proposed acquisition of MoneyGram collapsed due to objections from the U.S. government, now its Taobao service has the dubious honor of again featuring on the USTR (United States Trade Representative) naughty list.

Taobao, Alibaba’s hugely popular marketplace, is among 25 e-commerce sites to feature in the latest USTR ‘Notorious Markets’ list. The annual list roots out physical and digital marketplaces that are adjudged to be “engaging in and facilitating substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting.”

The key concern of the report on Taobao is around how Alibaba works with IP holders to remove counterfeit listings and prevent sales of unlicensed goods.

“A high volume of infringing products reportedly continue to be offered for sale and sold on Taobao.com and stakeholders continue to report challenges and burdens associated with IP enforcement on the platform,” the report said of Taobao, which is a key service that helps Alibaba reach 488 million Chinese consumers each year.

The USTR acknowledged that Alibaba has taken steps to improve the situation, but it noted that “important unresolved concerns remained.” In particular, the…

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