December 16, 2015

Congress Must Act to Support Legitimate Trade and American Jobs

American consumers enjoy access to a wide-range of products from around the world. Many of these products originate right here in the USA and are often the most highly sought-after innovative products and creative works in the marketplace. From blockbuster films and chart-topping sound recordings, to life-saving drugs and the latest computers and software, America offers a never-ending selection of innovative and creative products and services to the world.

To help ensure that these products continue to be available, it is imperative that our nation has the right rules in place to support and facilitate legitimate trade. U.S. businesses rely on predictable supply chains to access international consumers and compete in the global marketplace. The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, more commonly referred to as “Customs Reauthorization,” is currently being considered by Congress. Last week, the bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and is currently being considered by the Senate.

It is imperative that this much-needed legislation is passed without delay. The U.S. Chamber strongly supports this legislation, which will help facilitate legitimate trade, improve customs enforcement, advance government agency cooperation, enhance enforcement of intellectual property rights, and set the global standard for border management. In fact, just last week U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President for Government Affairs Bruce Josten issued a Key Vote letter on behalf of the Chamber’s three million businesses, indicating its importance to the business community at large.

America’s intellectual property industries contribute 35% of our gross domestic product (GDP), comprise two-thirds of all our exports, and create over 40 million good paying jobs. And, as previously stated, these industries are responsible for the cutting-edge innovations and creative works that delight consumers and in some cases, literally save lives. With such success come significant threats from criminal enterprises who seek to steal or counterfeit our products and put American jobs at risk.

This legislation would enhance the capabilities of Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to protect America’s intellectual property rights (IPR) from these criminal enterprises and preserve our competitive edge and innovation economy.

To protect American workers and aid American industry in continuing to bring new and exciting products to market, it is time to finally pass Customs Reauthorization. We applaud the efforts of Members of Congress, especially Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Orrin Hatch, for their tireless work on this important bill and also express our profound appreciation to all those who vote in favor of this measure and a more prosperous American future.

Frank Cullen is Executive Director of U.S. Intellectual Property Policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Intellectual Property Center.

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