The move comes in response to a report by trade lobby Conferscenti in April 2018 which estimates that illegal trade in the tourism sector is a €22 billion industry. According to Conferscenti, the government loses €11.5 billion in tax annually because of the black market.
The counterfeit goods of bags, clothes and shoes, which accounts for €3.3 billion annually alone, according to Italian daily La Stampa, are being specifically targeted.
The interior ministry's new law could see illegal vendors fined up to €15,000; but it also aims to punish customers who buy counterfeit goods with a fine of up to €7,000, reports Il Sole 24 Ore.
“Stop to the invasion of 'vu cumpra,” said Interior Minister Salvini. 'Vu cumpra' is a derogatory term for migrant vendors. It means 'Do you want to buy?' in broken Italian.
Salvini plans to use EU funds to reinforce collaboration between national and municipal police forces along Italy's coast, reports La Stampa, a controversial move in itself given that EU legality funds have never been used for extraordinary police measures, adds that report.
More than 500,000 counterfeit shoes, bags, clothes and accessories alone have been seized by Italian law and order forces since 2017. More than 10,000 people have been arrested and nearly €265 million in goods recovered or destroyed.
The new directive, which is expected to come into force from the end of this month, will also target hubs for the production of counterfeit goods, such as the cities of Naples and Prato.