US Slams China on Intellectual Property Piracy
IP piracy and counterfeiting ''remain rampant in China despite years of engagement,'' says the USTR
WASHINGTON, DC - 10/27/05 - The US has initiated a special process under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules to obtain information on China's efforts to enforce mandated intellectual property enforcement regulations.
The US "is deeply concerned by the violations of intellectual property rights in China," said US Trade Representative (USTR) Rob Portman. "Based on all available information, piracy and counterfeiting remain rampant in China despite years of engagement on this issue."
Japan and Switzerland have joined the US in submitting similar requests.
Washington's request is aimed at obtaining "a more complete picture of China's intellectual property enforcement efforts since 2001" and calls for Beijing "to make available detailed information concerning the application of criminal, administrative, and civil remedies for infringement cases that affect US right holders."
China's promise to "substantially reduce IPR infringement" during bilateral talks in April 2004 has yielded mixed results, though recent commitments made during July's bilateral talks have proven promising.
Data collected from the request "will help to evaluate China's progress implementing its commitments to substantially reduce counterfeiting and piracy."
According to a Special 301 Report published by the USTR in April, China's inadequate enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) is believed to result in infringement levels of 90% or more for virtually every form of intellectual property.
The report cataloged the growing concerns of US industry groups that assert Beijing "is unwilling to provide sufficiently detailed information regarding its enforcement efforts and criminal prosecutions."
The USTR observed at that time that "lack of transparent information on IPR infringement levels and enforcement activities in China continues to be an acute problem."
The report also noted that "when criminal prosecutions are pursued, a lack of transparency makes it difficult to ascertain whether they resulted in convictions and, if so, what penalties were imposed."
The new US initiative takes advantage of a process established under Article 63.3 of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights - also known as the TRIPS Agreement.
That process allows WTO members to request information pertaining to judicial decisions or administrative rulings on IPR-related matters when their rights under the TRIPS Agreement are affected.
"If China believes that it is doing enough to protect intellectual property, then it should view this process as a chance to prove its case," said Portman. "Our goal is to get detailed information that will help pinpoint exactly where the enforcement system is breaking down so we can decide appropriate next steps."
The US expects a response on the matter from China within the next three months.
back, or read the latest Front Page stories:
Frustrated WTO Chief Pushes for June Trade Pact
GENEVA – 05/05/06 – World Trade Organization Director General Pascal Lamy has said that negotiators must reach agreement by mid-June on broad parameters for reductions in tariffs on agricultural products and cuts in trade-destabilizing farm subsidies or risk killing the Doha Round of trade talks; a final deal, he said, has to be struck in time for President Bush to submit it to Congress under the five-year Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) powers he received in 2002 to negotiate trade agreements.
US, Canada Reach Benchmark Lumber Accord
WASHINGTON, DC – 05/04/06 – The US and Canada have agreed on the core elements of an agreement to set the parameters for Canadian softwood lumber exports to the US; last year south-bound lumber exports, used mainly in the construction of new homes, were valued at over $7 billion – about 2% of Canada’s total exports to the US, or just less than 3% of the total cross-border trade volume between the two countries.
Top US Officials Attempt to Revive WTO Negotiations
GENEVA, Switzerland – 05/03/06 – Outgoing USTR Rob Portman and his replacement, Deputy USTR Susan Schwab, are in Geneva to administer CPR to the comatose Doha Round of global trade negotiations; World Trade Organization head Pascal Lamy has instructed participants to engage in ''vigorous, continuous negotiations'' until a scheduled month-long break at the end of July.