The Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA), the association representing US automotive and heavy duty suppliers, is supporting the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Enforcement Act, introduced on 7 February by Senators Evan Bayh and George Voinovich.

“The automotive parts and components industry and our customers are being seriously affected by counterfeiting,” said MEMA president and CEO Bob McKenna in a statement.

“Penetration of our domestic and overseas markets by counterfeit automotive products undercuts US and foreign safety standards putting consumers at risk, damages brand reputation with our customers, cuts into sales and profits and steals good American jobs.

“Our challenges as an industry dealing with this issue are enormous, and we applaud [the senators] for sponsorships of this vital legislation to aid industry in this fight,” he added.

Citing Interpol, MEMA said international criminal networks and even terrorist organisations have turned to product counterfeiting, including the counterfeiting of automotive products.

“Passage of this important legislation will strengthen domestic and international enforcement against counterfeiters, facilitate cooperation between law enforcement and the private sector and sustain focus on combating IPR crimes over the long term,” said MEMA vice president of government affairs Ann Wilson.

“We are prepared to work vigorously for passage of this legislation.”

MEMA represents around 700 motor vehicle product manufacturers with 12,000 US plant locations and 1.2m workers.