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Remarks by Ambassador Miriam Sapiro at the Special 301 Public Hearing

Opening Statement of Ambassador Miriam E. Sapiro
Deputy United States Trade Representative

Special 301 Public Hearing
U.S. International Trade Commission
Washington, D.C.

March 3, 2010

*As Prepared for Delivery*

 

"Good morning. I am delighted to be here and want to welcome all of you to the public hearing of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on the Special 301 review.

Our objective today is simple: to listen and to gather information to prepare the annual Special 301 report, so I will keep my remarks brief.

Let me begin by thanking all of the participants for taking the time to share your views. I also want to thank the agencies represented today for their participation and the International Trade Commission for providing such a comfortable venue for today's hearing.

As President Obama has emphasized, economic recovery cannot be driven simply by American consumption. America needs a new growth model going forward, one based on more exports and investment than consumption. We know that exporting businesses grow faster, add jobs faster and pay higher wages. We also know that the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights is a critical component for American businesses and entrepreneurs..

Earlier this week, the President delivered his 2010 Trade Policy Agenda to the Congress. It makes clear that "[b]ecause fostering innovation is essential to our prosperity and to the support of countless jobs in the United States, we will protect American inventiveness and creativity with all the tools of trade policy."

The President's Trade Agenda cites insufficient protection of intellectual property rights as undermining key U.S. comparative advantages in innovation and creativity, to the detriment of American businesses and workers. It states that we will address insufficient protection of intellectual property rights by negotiating and enforcing effective intellectual property protection in a manner compatible with basic principles of the public welfare.

The Trade Agenda also recognizes the importance of transparency and public consultation when addressing intellectual property issues. Today's hearing is one of the ways we are seeking to do that: we want to ensure that Special 301 decisions are based on a full and complete understanding of all of the complex issues involving intellectual property protection.

Over the past 20 years, the Special 301 process has contributed to the development of the international legal and enforcement infrastructure for the protection of the rights of creators and innovators. And it continues to do so, as seen most recently in the recent USTR announcements successfully concluding separate Special 301 out-of-cycle reviews with Israel and Saudi Arabia. This process works largely because the report shines a spotlight on insufficient IP protection and enforcement. That sends a message to the world, including potential investors, about that trading partner's level of commitment to IPR protection. The Special 301 process also affords an important opportunity to give credit to partner countries that improve their protection of IPR.

Input from the public is critical to ensuring that we make effective use of the Special 301 process. As you deliver your statements today, I encourage you all to bear in mind the statutory mandate Congress has given USTR: to identify countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights or deny fair and equitable market access to persons that rely on IP protection. Your comments will be most helpful to USTR, and the interagency team working on this review, if you can use the time available for your presentations today to direct our attention to the information you believe is most important as we work together to fulfill this mandate.

With that, I thank everyone again for your participation."