Counterfeits are worth nearly 10 percent of the clothes, shoes and accessories sold in the EU, taking away over 26 billion euros ($28 billion) in business, according to a study released Tuesday.
With many of the world's top fashion houses located in Europe, the study by the EU's Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market "reveals the threat that counterfeiting poses to the industry's innovative output and the direct and indirect costs to the EU economy."
The report put direct annual losses to the industry from counterfeit clothing, footwear and accessories at approximately 26.3 billion euros, or 9.7 percent of the sector’s sales.
If knock-on effects on other industries and lost government revenue are included, the economic impact rises to 43.3 billion euros per year.
Counterfeits also have a major impact on jobs in the 28-country EU, where several countries are grappling with high unemployment.
Estimated job losses ranged from 363,000 to nearly 520,000 if indirect effects are included.
The unemployment rate in the EU was 9.6 percent in May.
The report estimated the direct impact on Italy to be the highest in Europe at 4.5 billion euros per year and nearly 50,000 jobs.