WASHINGTON, D.C.—The United States Chamber of Commerce praised Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez for his commitment to protect the rights of American businesses amid growing concern over the counterfeiting and piracy of U.S. intellectual property. The effort is an expansion of the Bush administration's anti-counterfeiting initiatives launched in October 2004, including the Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP).
"We applaud Secretary Gutierrez for his leadership in fighting intellectual property theft around the world," said Brad Huther, director of the Chamber's Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Initiative.
"The Chamber has made combating counterfeiting and piracy a top priority and, with the support of the administration, we can be more effective in cracking down on fraud."
Internationally, the World Customs Organization and Interpol estimate that the annual global trade in illegitimate goods has increased from $5.5 billion in 1982 to roughly $600 billion today, and it continues to grow. Counterfeiting costs U.S. businesses as much as $250 billion every year and results in the loss of 750,000 jobs, according to the Chamber.
"The United States must keep up with the growing sophistication of IP theft," said Huther. "The administration's new anti-counterfeiting initiative is a big step toward protecting the high-tech and movie industries as well as thousands of other U.S. businesses across the country."
The Chamber has also expanded its efforts domestically to crack down on IP theft and has been working with international business organizations and the governments of China, Brazil, Russia, India, and Korea to enforce international trade agreements, strengthen borders, and tighten shipping controls.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.
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