American official says China's IPR abuses a major trade bar
22 March 2005 19:19 [Source: ICIS news]
?xml:namespace>ARLINGTON, Virginia (CNI)--Chinese violations of intellectual property rights (IPR) remain a major obstacle for foreign firms doing business there, a top US government trade specialist said here Tuesday, noting that US business with China nevertheless continues to grow.?xml:namespace>
Rebecca Karnak, international trade specialist in the US Department of Commerce Office of the China Economic Area (OCEA), told some 400 chemical industry executives at the GlobalChem conference today that IPR protections and trade-restrictive Chinese standards remain “top concerns of US exporters and a significant barrier to trade.”
She said inadequate Chinese safeguards for IPR also are a major concern for the US government. She said the US State Department has assigned a commercial attaché at the US embassy in Beijing to focus exclusively on IPR issues in China and to assist US companies in dealing with IPR problems.
Karnak said other specific concerns regarding Chinese business and regulatory matters include a lack of transparency in regulations, a lack of conformity in testing standards between central government and provincial regulatory agencies and “home-grown standards” that are at odds with internationally accepted standards for product testing.
She said US and other foreign firms seeking business in China also are plagued by a fragmented distribution network in the country, weak contract enforcement, policies favouring domestic industries and a “huge and slow government bureaucracy with multiple layers of government.”
She said the Department of Commerce (DoC) and other US federal agencies are trying to resolve these many issues with the Beijing government in part by bringing specific US industry issues to the attention of the Chinese government. That effort will be aided beginning in May with establishment in Beijing of the DoC-funded China Standards and Conformity Assessment (CSCA) office. The CSCA will monitor standards of development in China and “promote acceptance of US standards and conformity assessment systems.”
Karnak also identified DoC technical assistance programmes and seminars held in China “to increase awareness among PRC officials of standards issues affecting trade and domestic programmes on certification and other standards issues in China.”
She invited US firms who face IPR or other trade obstacles in China to contact her office with information and for help. Karnak provided her e-mail address of firstname.lastname@example.org.
She noted that despite weak IPR protections and other obstacles to trade with China, the country remains “an exceptionally promising market” for US companies. She pointed out that China rose from being the eleventh largest US export market in 2000 to the fifth largest today.
Among US companies already doing business in China, she said, 16% report they are “very profitable,” an increase from 10% last year. And 70% of US firms in China reported that the climate for US businesses has improved, and 81% say they will expand their overall business activities in China this year.
The GlobalChem conference on international chemical regulatory matters continues through Wednesday. The conference is co-sponsored by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) of Arlington and the Synthetic Organic Chemicals Manufacturers Association (SOCMA), which is based in Washington, DC.By: Joe Kamalick+1 713 525 2653
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