Original Press Release
NAM Supports WTO Finding on IPR Protection
Press release date: January 26, 2009
"Protection Of Intellectual Property Is Not To Be Taken Lightly," Engler Says
WASHINGTON, D.C. January 26, 2009 - The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) welcomed today's finding by a dispute settlement panel of the World Trade Organization (WTO) that will strengthen intellectual property right (IPR) protections in China.
"This is an important step in the global recognition of the importance of IPR enforcement," said NAM President and Chief Executive Officer John Engler. "Innovation and development must be supported by the legal system. Without that protection, global commerce will suffer."
Today's ruling stemmed from a case filed by the United States in 2007 regarding several aspects of Chinese IPR enforcement, particularly its shortcomings for copyright protection, inadequate provision for criminal prosecution, and loopholes in trademark protection.
"These deficiencies rule out entire categories of enforcement, leaving companies open to continuing assaults on the quality and reputation of their goods," said Engler. "The NAM has been at the forefront urging the U.S. government to make improved IPR enforcement a high priority. This is one of U.S. manufacturers' major difficulties in trading with China.
"Use of the WTO dispute settlement system should not be viewed as negative or adversarial," Engler said. "The NAM strongly supported China's entry into the WTO so that it would be bound by global trade rules. More than once, when cases have been brought, China has seen the validity of the issue and acted quickly to address the situation. We hope that China will do that again in this situation. In our view, the WTO finding provides ample reason to reform a range of IPR practices at a time when intellectual property is becoming increasingly important for Chinese companies as well as foreign companies.
"Protection of intellectual property is not an option; it is an obligation, and one not to be taken lightly," Engler said. "It is a fundamental tenet of future innovation and technological development. We commend the dispute settlement panel for its solid findings grounded on WTO principles, but there is more to be done. We encourage the Obama Administration to continue working with officials in China at both the national and provincial levels to strengthen intellectual property protection and enforcement."
The National Association of Manufacturers is the nation's largest industrial trade association, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NAM has 11 additional offices across the country. Visit the NAM's award-winning web site at www.nam.org for more information about manufacturing and the economy.