April 13,2017

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Aaron Fobes, Julia Lawless (202)224-4515

New Report Highlights Lackluster Protection of IP Rights by Obama Administration

New Data from Non-Partisan Watchdog Shows Previous Administration Failed to Prioritize IP Enforcement
WASHINGTON – New data from a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report issued today illustrates that, under the Obama administration, federal agencies charged with monitoring and enforcing international trade agreements prioritized resources on only two issue areas and neglected vital responsibilities, including enforcement of American intellectual property (IP) rights. The report, produced by the nonpartisan Congressional watchdog, was required under the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 and examines the use of federal agencies’ resources to enforce international trade agreements.
“American ingenuity and innovation are cornerstones of our economic competitiveness and success,” Hatch said. “As such, protecting our intellectual property rights by enforcing strong trade agreements is vital to safeguarding American ideas around the globe. The data from this report highlights that, under the Obama Administration, crucial resources at many of our federal agencies responsible for trade enforcement were simply not given priority. In particular, the Obama Administration  did not commit  enough resources to enforce commercial obligations, especially intellectual property rights. If America is to succeed in holding our trading partners accountable, we must give greater priority and federal resources to ensure compliance with all trade obligations – not just those related to labor and the environment. This report underscores the importance of prioritizing resources for trade enforcement with our partners so that American ideas, and the capital investment behind them, are protected from abuses abroad.”
GAO’s 2016 Trade Enforcement report found that 80% of funding, approximately $205 million, was used for environmental and labor projects in neighboring countries while only 20%, approximately $50 million, was used for other enforcement measures, including IP protection.
Click here to read the GAO report.