Pelosi and Senior Democrats Seek Solution to Intellectual Property Abuses

Oct 12, 2006
Press Release

Pelosi and Senior Democrats Seek Solution to Intellectual Property Abuses

Failure to enforce trade laws hurts American workers, costs economy billions each year

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Contact: Brendan Daly/Jennifer Crider, 202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. â€" House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leadership, and senior members of the Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to President Bush today calling for immediate action to promote and safeguard American intellectual property (IP) around the world. The Democrats made the case that cracking down on piracy and theft of American IP is critical to restoring economic growth, creating jobs and shrinking the trade deficit.

“The President's failed economic policies have resulted in another month of record trade deficits, once again highlighting the need for a new direction,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. “We must pursue an aggressive trade enforcement agenda so that U.S. businesses and workers do not pay the price for countries that refuse to play by the rules.”

The Democrats’ letter points out that:

  • Worldwide, US intellectual property losses cost the U.S. economy $250 billion.
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  • The piracy rate for software in China alone is almost 90 percent, costing the U.S. economy over $2 billion a year.
  • The U.S. automobile industry loses $12 billion each year due to counterfeit automotive parts production.

“This Administration has to hold our trading partners’ feet to the fire and enforce the rules of trade,” said Ways and Means Ranking Member Charles B. Rangel. “If we’re going to convince American workers that trade can work for them, they need to know that Congress and the Administration will crack down on violations to give them the advantage they deserve.”

The letter follows:

October 12, 2006

The President
The White House
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing you seeking immediate and effective action to promote and safeguard American intellectual property around the world. Goods and services produced by American workers, farmers and business that have a high intellectual property content are critical to restoring broad-based economic growth and job creation, yet they are widely pirated, stolen and copied.

No country in the world has done more to undermine American intellectual property than China. Copyright piracy, trademark counterfeiting and patent theft are rampant. American software is pirated at a rate of almost 90 percent and at a cost of more than $2.0 billion to the U.S. economy each year. Total copyright losses exceed $2.5 billion per year. The U.S. automobile industry loses $12 billion a year due to counterfeit automotive parts production, of which China is a leading violator.

Accordingly, as a first step, we call on the Administration immediately to file a broad-based challenge in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The United States should use the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) to challenge China’s flagrant abuse of international rules governing intellectual property rights.

American workers and businesses, including in key manufacturing sectors from automobiles to fiber optics continue to lose tens of billions of dollars annually to China due to theft of American intellectual property. China’s ongoing industrial policies and refusal to enforce WTO rules continue to force technology transfer and enable piracy in sectors from recordings to automobiles, software to motion pictures. Every year the United States delays taking decisive action on intellectual property, Americans lose another $250 billion â€" that’s almost $700 million per day. We cannot afford to wait even one more day.

To monitor progress and establish a close working relationship with Congress on this issue, we also call on your Administration to develop a Rapid Response Team that reports monthly on intellectual property problems around the world and the actions being taken to correct these problems. We will be introducing legislation shortly that will codify this requirement. China is far from the only country that is attempting to gain advantage by failing to protect American intellectual property.

We believe that an aggressive strategy to safeguard and promote American ingenuity and innovation is essential to our economic security. Intellectual property is one of America’s key assets in global competition. We look forward to working in partnership with your Administration to ensure that the integrity of this asset is promoted and protected vigorously in the global marketplace.

Sincerely,

Nancy Pelosi
House Democratic Leader

Steny Hoyer
House Democratic Whip

Congressman Charles B. Rangel
Ranking Democrat
Ways and Means Committee

Congressman Benjamin L. Cardin
Ranking Democrat
Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade

Congressman James E. Clyburn
Chairman
House Democratic Caucus

Congressman John B. Larson
Vice-Chairman
House Democratic Caucus

Congressman Pete Stark
Member
Ways and Means Committee

Congressman Sander M. Levin
Member
Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade

Congressman John Lewis
Member
Ways and Means Committee

Congressman Richard Neal
Member
Ways and Means Committee

Congressman Mike McNulty
Member
Ways and Means Committee

Congressman Xavier Becerra
Member
Ways and Means Committee

Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones
Member
Ways and Means Committee