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Case Study: IP and the Global Agenda

Multilateral Cooperation Case Study: IP and the Global Agenda

E. Anthony Wayne, Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs
Transatlantic Policy Network Autumn Strategy Meeting
Washington, DC
November 3, 2005


I am very glad to be here today to discuss the critical contribution transatlantic operation can make to meeting the global challenge to the innovation economy that the violation of intellectual property rights represents.

With roughly 7% of annual global trade involving trade in illegitimate goods -- roughly $600 billion and growing -- and counterfeiting alone costing U.S. businesses as much as $250 billion annually -- there is no question in my mind that the nations of Europe are also suffering great economic consequences from the sad fact that intellectual property crime is a growth industry.

But it is not just our "nations," not just faceless "governments," that are suffering. The real glue that binds us is the reality that every single day, countless numbers of American and European business owners -- large and small, men and women -- are being stolen from by the IP counterfeiters and pirates, are seeing their livelihoods threatened or eliminated, their incentives to create value and innovation slashed.

It is time to move beyond our differences on some specific policy issues and begin the kind of concrete cooperation that is truly the only way we can reverse the tide of intellectual property theft that is threatening our economic security and competitiveness, the livelihoods of our artists and our innovators in essence, our futures.

Neither Europe nor America can solve this on its own. It is in our mutual interest to take our dialogue on intellectual property rights and enforcement from the theoretical to the practical, so that we can leverage our efforts on both sides of the Atlantic to improve enforcement and prevent IP crime before it happens and give our economies a fighting chance. U.S.-European trade in goods and services totalled nearly $680 billion in 2004 you see that we are in this together.

Now that I've persuaded you (remember now, we are not talking about beef or airplanes), let me reassure you that we are not starting from scratch. In fact, we have a great foundation on which to work, including most specifically both the 2005 EU-US Summit Declaration on Working Together to Fight Against Global Piracy and Counterfeiting, and the 2005 G8 Leaders' Statement on Reducing IPR Piracy and Counterfeiting Through More Effective Enforcement.

The U.S. government at the highest levels strongly supports rapid concrete steps to carry out the lofty promises contained in these two declarations. We hope to see everyone reinforce our mutual commitments with actions to beef up cooperation on protection and enforcement. And we believe the most effective approach will involve cooperation both with the European Commission and with member states individually, particularly given the allocation of customs authority and operational enforcement jurisdictions.

The U.S. sent a broad interagency team to Brussels in mid-October to meet with the EC and kick off what we hope will be a broad and multilayered process of fulfilling the promise of the Summit Statement. The results were encouraging -- trade, tax and IP experts identified areas for joint anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting actions.

First, we plan to increase cooperation between U.S. and EU Member States' customs authorities to identify and implement the best possible practices to detect IP infringement and increase seizures of IP infringing goods.

Second, we want to get our customs authorities trading information on how to better manage risks and use the most effective techniques to meet this global challenge, and we want to tighten up our enforcement coordination on the ground so we can stop pirates and counterfeiters at our borders.

Third, we will make sure the operational work we launch together is successful by ensuring we collect needed statistical data in a way we can both understand.

On a more general note, strengthening communication between the U.S. and EU parties whose interests are affected by strengthened intellectual property enforcement will be key to the success of our joint efforts. Therefore, we hope to work with our EU counterparts to invite the U.S. and EU citizens who own intellectual property themselves to become a more integral part of our cooperative IP enforcement and education efforts.

Finally, we hope to share information regarding IP training programs and, to the extent possible, coordinate U.S. and EU IP training opportunities in priority sources of IP infringement like China and Russia.

Ahah, so now the elephant is out of the closet. Just how are we going to combat piracy and counterfeiting in the major "problem" areas more effectively? What can we really do when IP violators are some of the greatest innovators around?

The answer comes back to teamwork and integration. We like to think of it as building enforcement alliances with our trading partners, as building capacity globally, and as integrating the promotion of innovation and IP protection and competitiveness into our overarching relations with all of our partners.

A full menu of innovative carrots AND sticks can help advance our common cause. Most importantly, we all need to do better at showing our partners, whether geographical safe havens to infringement or opponents to protection of intellectual property, why it is in THEIR interest to nurture innovation. How stronger legislative and regulatory frameworks and enforcement can further their own development objectives, increase the flow of legitimate funds into their budgetary coffers, and help them reach their own good governance goals.

We can make better use of the "sticks" available to us through the WTO and other international bodies. In this vein, the U.S., joined by Switzerland and Japan, last week filed a formal "transparency request" seeking more information from the Chinese government on their enforcement of intellectual property rights. We will be discussing this and many other of our broader concerns with China directly later this week and next at our Ambassador's IP "Roundtable" and Joint Committee on Commerce and Trade IP Meeting. Wider support from the EU and member states would be helpful.

We can also ensure that the WTO accession process is meaningful. On that front, we are pushing hard in our accession talks and through a U.S.-Russia IPR Working Group for improvements in Russia's IP enforcement against piracy and counterfeiting. It would be useful for us to cooperatively address this mutual objective, given the growing volume of pirated and counterfeit goods originating in Russia and adversely affecting both U.S. and European interests.

It would also be useful to work with the EU and its Member States to reinforce domestic mechanisms and programs addressing piracy and counterfeiting.

We will be continuing to do the same domestically and internationally. In fact, a week from today the State Department will join other key U.S. agencies at the National Chamber of Commerce to recognize the accomplishments of the first year of the Administration's STOP! Initiative Stop Organized Trade in Counterfeiting and Piracy and to highlight how we will further implement STOP!'s broad agenda in its second year.

Which brings me back to where I started. At its heart, STOP! is about building sometimes non-traditional alliances between our agencies and with other nations in order to protect citizens and innovators be they commercial, cultural, or consumers from the harmful effects of IP crime. I know Europe wants to do the same. Your constituents and ours deserve our cooperation in making this protection stronger. The Transatlantic Policy Network and its members can help make this happen. Thank you.

Released on November 9, 2005

ENDS


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