The problem of fake goods from China has spread beyond the dodgy Gucci and Rolex shops of Manhattan and into the bloodstream of the American military, according to a new report.
A year-long inquiry by the Senate Armed Services Committee has found that hardware used by American personnel is riddled with counterfeit electronic parts most of which can be sourced back to China. It discovered 1,800 cases of fake components in everything from helicopters to night-vision goggles. The report said 70 per cent of suspect parts were traced to China, though the UK and Canada were also identified as source countries. The authors criticised China not just for failing to police its electronics industry properly but also for impeding the committee's work by withholding visas from its researchers.
While the report did not identify any incidents where a fake component had caused actual operational difficulties, it stressed that the risk exists. It highlighted finding counterfeit parts in three naval aircraft.