Matteo Salvini, Italy’s interior minister, who also leads the country’s right-wing League party, is preparing a ruling called Safe Beaches, reports The Telegraph, which will severely impact vendors' freedom to sell products – and put tourists purchasing goods at risk of large fines.
The ruling, which is expected to be rolled out this summer, would mean vendors caught selling counterfeit products could face fines of between €2,500 and €15,500 and have their merchandise confiscated.
Tourists who pay for massages, tattoos and hair braids from unauthorised vendors would also run the risk of a fine.
The proposed levies originate from existing laws relating to the illegal trade in counterfeit goods which are already on the statute book.
Local police, Carabinieri police and the Guardian Finanza tax police would enforce the new decree against vendors and those who choose to buy from them.
Mr Salvini argues that the vendors sell fake brands and evade tax, which damages legitimate businesses.
The business association Confesercenti estimates that trade in counterfeit goods totals €22bn a year in Italy, with tax authorities arguably losing out on billions in revenue.
In the first half of last year, the Guardia Finanza tax authorities confiscated €265m worth of counterfeit goods, including clothing and accessories.
Vendors laden with merchandise such as hats, jewellery and handbags are a common sight on many European beaches. A large proportion of them are believed to be migrants from West Africa and Bangladesh.
Some Italians consider these vendors a nuisance and refer to them as “vu cumpra” – a derogatory term meaning “do you want to buy”.
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