STOP! Initiative to Help Businesses Enforce their Rights, Stop Fakes at
Borders, Dismantle Criminal Enterprises & Build an International Coalition
Against Piracy and Counterfeiting
WASHINGTON – U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick joined colleagues
from the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and Homeland Security today to
announce a major new government-wide initiative, the Strategy Targeting
Organized Piracy (STOP!), to fight billions dollars in global trade in pirated
and counterfeit goods that cheat American innovators and manufacturers, hurt the
U.S. economy and endanger consumers worldwide.
"Trade in fake goods is growing, cheating American innovators and producers
out of billions of dollars and threatening consumers all over the world with low
quality and often unsafe products. This problem crosses many different
jurisdictions, laws and countries, and the STOP initiative provides a
coordinated and effective answer," said Zoellick. "The message to the IPR
pirates and counterfeiters is simple – we will do everything we can to make
their life miserable. We will stop their products at our border; we will name
and shame your company; we will ratchet up the penalties; and we will coordinate
with our trading partners to prevent third-country trafficking."
From familiar products such as CDs and DVDs to clothing, brake pads and even
automobiles, trade in fakes has been growing not only with the United States but
also between other countries, thereby escaping the reach of U.S. law enforcement
efforts. STOP! is broad in scope and brings a new approach, new tools and new
pressure to bear through a coordinated effort from the federal government, the
private sector and America’s international trading partners. The STOP!
initiative is the culmination of efforts over the last year to build on the
Administration’s successful efforts to combat piracy and counterfeiting around
Making the announcement were Commerce Secretary Don Evans, U.S. Trade
Representative Robert B. Zoellick, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and
Under-Secretary of Homeland Security Asa Hutchinson.
In late 2003, USTR identified the evolution and growth of piracy and
counterfeiting in the global economy as a top priority and engaged with agencies
across the federal government and trading partners around the world to develop a
new approach and solutions. Key elements of the STOP! initiative include:
- Helping and empowering American businesses, inventors and innovators,
particularly small businesses, secure and enforce their rights in overseas
- Ensuring consumer safety by securing America’s borders and marketplace from
- Raising the stakes and making life more onerous for intellectual property
thieves through new customs methods that increase costs to violators far beyond
seizing shipments and by naming and shaming global pirates and counterfeiters
who are producing and trafficking in fakes;
- Developing a "No Trade in Fakes" program in cooperation with the private
sector to ensure that global supply chains are free of infringing goods;
- Working to dismantle criminal enterprises that steal intellectual property
using all appropriate criminal laws, and overhauling, updating and modernizing
U.S. intellectual property statutes; and
- Joining forces with like-minded trading partners concerned about the
growing global IPR piracy problem, such as the European Commission, Japan, the
United Kingdom and France who have all recently launched initiatives.
In his remarks, Zoellick pointed to a specific and recent case involving
ABRO, an Indiana exporter of glue and other products, that highlights this
growing problem and how USTR effectively worked to solve it. A Chinese firm in
Hunan Province was counterfeiting ABRO adhesives using identical packaging
bearing the company=s name and trademarks. USTR sought resolution of this case
and others at the highest levels. Just last month, ABRO secured an important
victory when the Chinese Trademark Bureau stripped the Hunan counterfeiter of
any right to use ABRO=s trademarks.
Global intellectual property rights (IPR) theft and trade in fakes have grown
to unprecedented levels, threatening many American businesses, innovators and
manufacturers that depend on strong IPR enforcement for their competitiveness.
Interpol estimates that seven percent of global trade now involves counterfeited
goods. Trade in fakes is more than just a commercial or copyright problem.
Consumer safety world wide is threatened when cheap and unregulated goods are
used. For example, car windshields that purport to be shatterproof may in fact
shatter, endangering occupants involved in accidents.
Though not alone, China has emerged as a leading source of pirated and
counterfeit goods. The United States is pressing China to fully implement and
effectively enforce its WTO IPR obligations. In April 2004, China committed to
subject the full array of piracy and counterfeiting operations to criminal
prosecution, and to target production facilities and sales of fakes. China also
agreed to strengthen its border enforcement. Last month, USTR initiated the
first ever systematic review of China’s intellectual property enforcement
regime, including soliciting evidence from U.S. businesses.
Historically the United Sates has played a key role internationally in
developing, extending and supporting intellectual property rights, through
multi-lateral and bilateral treaties. Throughout the world, the United States
aggressively works to improve IPR protections and enforcement using all
available tools. In addition to cooperatively working with trading partners, the
United States has also acted forcefully when other countries have failed to
protect IPR. For example, the United States imposed $75 million in trade
sanctions on Ukraine, which are still in effect, and removed $250 million in
preferential access for Argentina.
Additionally, Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) negotiated by the United States
are a prime example of how USTR synchronizes trade negotiations with ongoing
enforcement efforts. These FTAs contain the highest level of IPR protection of
any international agreements in the world, upgrade our trading partners’
domestic laws for the modern age, and integrate law enforcement efforts.
Since 2000, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has increased
IPR seizures by 100 percent. This year, CBP is setting a record pace with
increased in seizures (5,500) and value ($90 million).