April 30, 2009

Chamber Comments On USTR’s Special 301 Report

Foreign Governments Must Do More to Improve Job-Protecting IP Enforcement Efforts

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today urged foreign governments to improve their intellectual property (IP) enforcement efforts, following the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) release of its Special 301 Report. Produced annually, the report highlights the most significant IP challenges facing rights owners abroad.

“Today’s Special 301 Report shines a spotlight on countries that are threatening American jobs and economic growth by undermining the intellectual property rights of our innovators and creative industries,” said Mark Esper, executive vice president of the Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center. “We commend the Office of the USTR for producing this report, which rightfully highlights countries whose IP policies endanger consumers and enable job destruction.”

Each year, the USTR’s Special 301 Report details countries that fail to abide by their IP rights obligations as outlined in trade agreements and international rules. This year’s report highlights the prevalence of such IP rights violations as criminal counterfeiting and piracy, although current law does not require concrete follow-up action by the USTR to spur changes by violator countries.

“Moving forward, Congress should work with USTR to provide more effective enforcement tools to ensure that violator countries develop comprehensive, behavior-changing plans that will protect the rights of American innovators and creators in these countries,” added Esper.

America’s IP-intensive industries employ nearly 18 million workers.  These innovative sectors account for over $5 trillion of the U.S. gross domestic product and comprise more than half of all U.S. exports.

The Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center is working around the world to champion IP as vital to creating jobs, saving lives, advancing global economic growth, and generating breakthrough solutions to global challenges.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

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