Casey Urges Obama to Press Chinese President on Harmful Trade Practices

WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today urged President Obama to demand action from Chinese President Hu Jintao to end unfair trade policies that are harming workers and businesses in Pennsylvania and around the country. In a letter sent today, Casey pressed Obama to focus his upcoming discussions with Jintao around intellectual property rights (IPR) protections and currency valuation.

“Chinese trade policies continue to have a negative impact on Pennsylvania’s economy and jobs,” wrote Senator Casey. “It is essential you convey to President Jintao that without further action on the part of the Chinese, Congress will likely take action to combat the impact of currency manipulation on American companies and workers.”

In his letter, Senator Casey highlighted a Pennsylvania business to illustrate the harmful impacts of Chinese trade policies on American companies. C.F. Martin & Co., a guitar maker based in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, has been fighting since 2005 to register its mark with the Chinese government to prevent a Chinese individual from selling counterfeit guitars.

“The lack of protection on the part of the Chinese harms C.F. Martin & Co. and is indicative of the experiences of countless other firms,” wrote Senator Casey. “The sale of counterfeit, low-quality merchandise hurts Pennsylvania companies and workers. Given the harm to Pennsylvania companies and our efforts to increase our exports, we must work with the Chinese to address IPR infringement.”

China’s inadequate intellectual property protections are well documented, the letter states. Last April, the Office of the United States Trade Representative placed China on its Priority Watch List, citing China’s poor level of IPR protection and enforcement.

A copy of the letter is below.


Dear President Obama:

As you prepare for the state visit of President Jintao this week, I want to convey the importance of your meeting to the people of Pennsylvania.   Chinese trade policies continue to have a negative impact on Pennsylvania’s economy and jobs.   I encourage you to press for a meaningful dialogue on trade issues, specifically on the topics of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and currency valuation.  

China’s inadequate intellectual property protections are well documented, specifically through reports released by your Administration.  Last April, the Office of the United States Trade Representative placed China on its Priority Watch List, following its annual Special 301 investigation.  The report clearly cites China’s poor level of IPR protection and enforcement as the reason for its inclusion on the list.  

I have heard from numerous Pennsylvania companies about the harm caused by China’s lax IPR policies.  Just this month, I received a letter from C.F. Martin & Co., the world-renowned guitar maker, headquartered in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.  Since 2005, Martin & Co. has been fighting to register its mark with the Chinese government.  The ongoing difficulties are due to a Chinese individual who has illegally registered the mark in order to produce and sell counterfeit guitars.  According to the company, these guitars are of low-quality and have been sold by this individual for the last two years at the Shanghai International Musical Instrument Exhibition, one of the world’s largest guitar trade shows.  

The lack of protection on the part of the Chinese harms C.F. Martin & Co. and is indicative of the experiences of countless other firms.  The sale of counterfeit, low-quality merchandise hurts Pennsylvania companies and workers.  Given the harm to Pennsylvania companies and our efforts to increase our exports, we must work with the Chinese to address IPR infringement.

In addition, I hope to see progress on China’s currency undervaluation.  According to manufacturers in the Commonwealth, currency manipulation by the Chinese has left them incapable of competing with Chinese firms.  Job losses in the manufacturing sector substantiate their claims.  It is estimated that 2.4 million jobs have been lost in the U.S. since China joined the WTO in 2001; 95,700 of which were in Pennsylvania.  I recognize the Chinese have allowed the yuan to mildly appreciate.   However, it is essential you convey to President Jintao that without further action on the part of the Chinese, Congress will likely take action to combat the impact of currency manipulation on American companies and workers.  

Thank you for your consideration of these points.  

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator


                                                                        
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