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The WTO Pulls One Over on Ron Kirk

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In yet another example of the clandestine and undemocratic nature of the World Trade Organization, the Chinese government claimed victory last week as the international trade group's Dispute Settlement Panel ruled against U.S. interests in a case brought to the organization two years ago.   

The case revolved around the fact that the Chinese government has utterly failed to protect and enforce intellectual property rights, especially copyrights and trademarks.  The U.S. claimed that American films, music and books were frequently pirated by Chinese citizens, which the Chinese government does little to prevent.   

The International Intellectual Property Alliance estimates the Chinese piracy costs at approximately $3.7 billion in lost sales each year.   

For anyone who follows the actions of the fatally flawed WTO, it should be absolutely no surprise that the U.S. essentially came out the loser in this trade dispute.  The U.S. has been ruled against in nine out of 10 trade disputes brought before the organization.  This time was no different.   

"Out of 11 complaints, the United States won only two and got three-fifths of what it sought in a third complaint," said Li Chenggang, deputy head of the Department of Treaty and Law under the MOC.

The most important issue in this dispute would have effectively forced China to more severely crackdown on copyright pirates and counterfeiters.  With little to no fear of prosecution by the Chinese government, there is virtually nothing to stop infringement on intellectual property rights.   

Yet, recently confirmed U.S. Trade Representative and avid "free trader" Ron Kirk inexplicably lauded the decision as if it was somehow beneficial to U.S. interests.   

"Today, the membership of the WTO agreed that China must bring its intellectual property rights enforcement regime into conformity with its WTO obligations," Ron Kirk, the new U.S. Trade Representative, said in a statement. 

"As this dispute demonstrates, the United States will not hesitate to use all appropriate tools at our disposal to ensure that our industries, authors and artists are protected -- and that our trading partners observe their WTO commitments." 

This most recent decision vividly demonstrates two things:  Ron Kirk is seriously out of touch on trade issues and was a very bad choice as U.S. Trade Representative and that the WTO is an undemocratic organization that is run by the rich, for the rich and more often than not rules against the U.S. in trade disputes. 

 

Dustin Ensinger graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Political Science. He is a contributing journalist for EconomyInCrisis.org.

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