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Archived updates for Wednesday, March 15, 2006

U.S. I/P Czar Testifies on China Policy

According to a press release from the U.S. Department of State, epidemic counterfeiting and piracy in China have become an enormous challenge for U.S. businesses. "Our industry reports that infringement levels in China range from 85 to 95 percent for all copyrighted works, and in 2005 the value of copyrighted works that were pirated exceeded $2.3 billion," Chris Israel, coordinator for international intellectual property enforcement at the U.S. Department of Commercehe testified on March 8 before a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation subcommittee.

In the lead-up to the next meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) high-level forum for resolving trade concerns and promoting commercial opportunitie son April 11, Israel laid out the four pillars of the U.S. strategy to confront this problem:

  • Engagement through the bilateral consultative mechanism of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), a high-level forum for resolving trade concerns and promoting commercial opportunities.
  • Effective use of trade tools, such as the USTR's annual "top to bottom" review assessing U.S.-China trade, the Special 301 review process for effectiveness of IPR enforcement and the dispute-resolution process of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
  • Expanded law enforcement cooperation built on the existing U.S.-China Joint Liaison Group, which facilitates bilateral cooperation on criminal justice matters.
  • Cooperation with the private sector, which serves as the "eyes and ears" for government enforcement efforts.

Few issues have such critical importance for the current and future economic strength of the United States as the ability to create and protect intellectual property, Israel said. "Intellectual property accounts for more than one-third of the value of all U.S. corporations, an amount equal to almost half of the United States' gross domestic product. U.S. IP industries account for over half of all U.S. exports. They represent 40 percent of our economic growth and employ 18 million Americans, who earn 40 percent more than the average U.S. wage."

The full text of Israel's statement before the subcommittee is available here.

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