Remarks by Ambassador Miriam Sapiro to the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees

Ambassador Miriam Sapiro
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative

International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)
February 2, 2012
Atlanta, Georgia


"Thank you for that introduction Matthew. It is great to be back in Atlanta, where I lived when I was a law clerk on the Federal Appeals Court here.

"It is an honor to be a part of your mid-Winter meeting and to visit with the General Executive Board of one of this country’s largest and strongest entertainment labor organizations.

"As Matthew explained, I have the privilege of serving as Deputy U.S. Trade Representative. Among my various responsibilities, I am helping the President to expand market access for U.S. goods and services; to ensure that our partners meet their World Trade Organization and other trade commitments; and to fight to protect U.S. intellectual property abroad.

"I want to focus my remarks on the third area – the protection of intellectual property rights, or “IPR”, abroad – an issue that is at the forefront of both our nation’s trade agenda and your organization’s agenda. The Obama Administration has achieved some notable successes with respect to IPR protections over the past year, and has set equally ambitious goals for 2012.

"When we look at America’s film and television exports, we see the positive, job-creating and job-sustaining impact of a $12 billion trade surplus that the United States runs in movies, television and other audiovisual services.

"But that trade surplus is only part of the story. We also appreciate the way that movies, television and theater help to drive all of America’s exports – our goods, our services, and importantly, our ingenuity and that spark that makes America great.

"Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside our borders, and for many of them, the movies and television are how they see America. They can see a country that that has the freedom and the creativity to imagine big and innovate big. Your innovations symbolize American innovation. Your creativity reflects our creativity as a nation.

"So how are we to capitalize on our comparative advantage? Simply put, we must continue to build an economy that creates and sustains the well-paying jobs of the future.

"That’s why the President created the National Export Initiative to focus our efforts on doubling exports by the end of 2014, with the goal of supporting up to two million additional U.S. jobs. Right now we are ahead of schedule and on pace to exceed that goal.

"In 2010, every billion dollars of U.S. goods exports supported over an estimated 6,000 jobs while every billion dollars of U.S. services exports supported more than an estimated 4,500 jobs. With that in mind, we are pursuing a trade agenda that creates jobs by opening foreign markets to U.S. products and services while vigorously protecting the intellectual property your members and other Americans create.

"Protecting IPR protects American jobs, including for the thousands of your members working long hours behind the camera and offstage. Stealing our IP and creativity deprives creators of their livelihood, including good wages and health and retirement benefits that come from the sale of legitimate creative works.

"Contrary to what many think, when people download a pirated film or song without paying for the right to do so, their actions are not victimless crimes. IATSE statistics indicate that year-after-year your members experience roughly $100 million in lost residuals to their health and pension funds as a result of IPR theft.

"The Obama Administration’s continuing commitment and fight to protect IPR cuts across four broad areas:

o First, IPR protection is a vital component of all of our trade agreements;

o Second, our record is second to none on trade enforcement actions;

o Third, IPR is a key issue in engagement with all of our top trading partners; and

o Fourth, our multilateral efforts at the World Trade Organization reflect the importance of IPR.

"Last fall saw the passage of three trade agreements (all on a single day) and significant progress on a landmark initiative with our Pacific trading partners.

"Since President Obama signed legislation approving trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea in October, we have been working with these countries to ensure they are adopting the laws and regulations necessary to meet their commitments, particularly with respect to intellectual property, before we bring these agreements into force.

"All three agreements have robust IPR provisions that offer significant protection for U.S. companies and workers. One of the agreements -- with Korea -- is the first ever U.S. FTA to require criminal penalties for unlawful camcording, as well as penalties for unauthorized distribution of cable and satellite transmissions.

"We have also made much progress in negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a bold nine-member trade initiative that we intend to complete before the end of this year. TPP remains a top priority of the Obama Administration because of its potential to be a real game-changer in terms of trade and jobs.

"Let’s start with the fact that TPP is going to enhance U.S. economic engagement with the dynamic Asia-Pacific region, which is home to some of the world’s largest and fastest growing markets. Add to that nine like-minded TPP partners committed to aiming high. Therefore, we believe TPP will be an ambitious, cutting-edge trade arrangement, with binding commitments to market access across all sectors, including yours. On IPR, the United States is negotiating state-of-the-art rules to address the 21st century challenges.

"One priority for us in this negotiation, as in other fora, is a renewed focus on market access opportunities for suppliers’ innovative service platforms, such as mobile phones and the Internet. These platforms can produce significant revenue streams by delivering legitimate content, thereby helping to displace the market for pirated content. Enforcing IPR on these platforms is a critical part of the solution. I look forward to working with all of you to meet our goal of a strong TPP agreement.

"This past October, we completed a ground-breaking IP-specific agreement. Representatives from seven countries [Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Morocco, New Zealand and Singapore] and I signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), marking an important step forward in the international fight against trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy. Last week, 22 of the EU’s 27 member countries also signed the Agreement.

"ACTA is an important new tool to fight global growth in counterfeiting and piracy, which threatens jobs of many in this room and across America, because they depend on innovation. The agreement calls for strengthening cooperation, enforcement practices, and the legal framework for IPR enforcement.

"It is the most significant IPR agreement in the last ten years and the most significant IPR enforcement agreement ever.

"While the three FTAs, TPP and ACTA are significant achievements, these and other agreements are not worth the paper they are written on without strong enforcement. A main focus for the year ahead is trade enforcement. We must enforce our trade agreements – strictly and consistently – to make sure that American businesses and workers get all of the benefits we fought for at the negotiating table.

"Among many challenges, we are tackling China’s barriers to importation and distribution of U.S. films. China’s film market has grown at a stunning pace, with 240 percent more screens built between 2002 and 2010, and estimated revenues in 2011 of $2.1 billion. But the barriers to U.S. films, as you know, remain great. We are working to translate our legal victory in the WTO market access case into real commercial opportunities for all of you. I want to thank you for your continued commitment, as part of the Creative America Coalition, to partnering with us in that effort.

"Another top Administration IPR enforcement priority is combating online piracy. Just last month the Justice Department and FBI seized the Megaupload website and indicted seven individuals associated with the website for criminal copyright infringement and conspiracy. Megaupload is alleged to have caused over $500 million in lost revenue for rights holders.

"Looking ahead, we will be continuing to strengthen ties with top trading partners, such as the European Union, Canada, Mexico, and more broadly across Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

"In November, the United States and the European Union agreed to establish a High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth, co-chaired by Ambassador Kirk and Trade Commissioner De Gucht. My EU counterpart and I are managing the process by which we will identify and assess options for strengthening our relationship. Areas of cooperation may include reducing or eliminating barriers to trade in goods and services, and enhancing the compatibility of our regulations and standards.

"Large and growing markets like China, India, and Brazil also present U.S. exporters with significant opportunities and challenges. To be sure, each market presents different barriers to trade and investment. But emerging economies offer tremendous potential through access to billions of new customers. With China, we will carefully monitor implementation of the commitments it made at last year’s Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) to enforce intellectual property rights more effectively, as we work to enhance your market access.

"As with China, we are working hard to identify, address, and reduce barriers to trade and investment between the United States and India and Brazil, two of the world’s fastest growing markets.

"We are also working to enhance our trade relationships with developing countries and the next group of emerging economies. We will continue to strengthen export markets and enhance economic development throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

"Finally, I’d like to highlight how the United States is providing crucial international leadership on trade.

"Specifically, we are leading multilateral efforts at the World Trade Organization to strengthen the rules-based trading system and keep global trade flowing and growing. In Geneva, we have been consistently emphasizing three key points: (1) the rules must be followed consistently and transparently; (2) protectionism must be actively avoided; and (3) it’s time to recognize that emerging economic powers have commensurate responsibilities in the global trading system.

"The WTO system has effectively staved off protectionism and enforced global trade rules. It provides the essential stability and predictability that export industries like yours need to flourish in the global marketplace. And the WTO TRIPS Agreement provides binding rules on IPR protection and enforcement, which contribute to that essential stability and predictability. In the WTO TRIPS Council where WTO countries come together to address IPR issues, the United States has vigorously championed efforts to combat piracy.

"To further strengthen the WTO, we are also assisting efforts to expand its membership. My team worked extremely hard to conclude last fall Russia’s negotiations for accession, which began 18 years ago. Russia’s accession will spur trade and support significant job growth in both the United States and Russia as a result of increased U.S. access to Russia’s market once Congress terminates application of the Jackson-Vanik amendment. This step is necessary to make available to U.S. companies and workers the many WTO commitments that we secured for improved access to Russia’s large and growing market for U.S. exports of agricultural and manufactured goods and services, and for improved protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR). We continue to work closely with Russia to strengthen enforcement of IP rights and fight internet piracy.

"Let me conclude by thanking you again for the crucial role that you and your members play in the fight to protect intellectual property rights in the global marketplace. Our joint efforts are having a direct impact on our companies’ earnings and our nation’s workers.

"It is important to remember that millions of American families struggling to make ends meet are counting on us to keep delivering trade opportunities that boost U.S. exports of goods and services and support American jobs. America is ready to do business. Your continuing support is critical to our ability to succeed."