SPAIN is one of countries in the EU worst affected by an influx of counterfeit Chinese toys with a report indicating that €167 million (£122 million) is lost each year as a direct result of the goods.
The EU Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) considers Spain, Greece, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria as nations experiencing the worst impact of the toys, which are potentially dangerous.
Dolls, action-figures, soft toys, jigsaws and musical instruments are included in a long list of potentially defective goods, although video games and software are exempt.
It estimates that Spanish manufacturers are losing roughly €167 million annually, which reflects 6.6 per cent of sales and costs 500 jobs.
The OHIM also highlighted counterfeit issues in Spain over cosmetics, textiles and sporting equipment.
José Pastor, the president of the Spanish and European Association of Toymakers, has demanded “heavier sanctions” on counterfeit toy manufacturers, while OHIM chief Antonio Campinos said “This is a highly lucrative and virtually risk-free business,” adding that prison sentences are rarely handed down.
The report suggests that counterfeiting in the toy sector costs the whole EU roughly €370 million in taxes and social security contributions.
Roughly 12.3 per cent of sales across the EU are thought to be of counterfeit goods, with an estimated value of €1.4 billion.