From MEMA Washington Insider
WASHINGTON, DC — On June 14, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) questioned a panel of witnesses testifying on the Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP!) initiative in hearings before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia.
Sen. Levin expressed concern over the government’s focus on intellectual property violations involving clothing and fashion items, with relatively little focus on more essential manufactured goods and products affecting public safety. He pointed out that there was not a single part on any automobile that isn’t presently being counterfeited in China. Sen. Levin added that there are safety issues associated with having “sub-par” windshields, brakes and other safety devices entering into the world wide stream of commerce.
Sen. Levin raised the issue than an entire vehicle is presently being counterfeited in China. The Chevy Spark which is the basis of the counterfeit “Cherry QQ.” He asked if the government agencies testifying at the hearing were familiar with the situation. When all agency representatives answered in the affirmative, the Senator began to question what was being done to stop the manufacturing of the QQ in China, and to ensure that this product and other counterfeit goods will not be allowed to enter the U.S market.
Sen. Levin continued by telling the panel that China has increasingly limited foreign market access and has made partnership with a Chinese corporation a necessary hurdle in the entry into the Chinese market. When asked what action the U.S is taking to address this problem, government officials testifying at the hearing said that they had just completed an out-of-cycle review of China, placed that country on the priority watch list, invoked the transparency procedures in TRIPS (The World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights), and are currently developing options available to the U.S. through the World Trade Organization (WTO). In response, Sen. Levin said that these are the same answers that he has been hearing for years, and that the U.S. needs to stop allowing China to ignore the rules and take specific action steps to address the situation.
Members of the congressional panel included Jon Dudas, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office; Victoria Espinel, Acting Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Intellectual Property; Daniel Baldwin , Acting Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Strategic Trade, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Laura H. Parsky, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Criminal Division , U.S. Department of Justice; Loren Yager, Director of International Affairs and Trade, United States General Accounting Office.
Earlier this month, members of Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association met with Sen. Levin and his staff during the 2005 MEMA Legislative Summit and discussed automotive suppliers’ deep concern over the problem of counterfeit automotive products currently being manufactured and sold in the global market.
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