Business Leaders Cite IP Protection In Urging Progress In WTO Negotiations 17/10/2005 by Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service, and subscribing to our service helps support our goals of bringing more transparency to global IP and innovation policies. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You also have the opportunity to offer additional support to your subscription, or to donate. An ad hoc, high-level global business leaders’ group that was in Geneva last week to push World Trade Organization negotiators to move forward on free-trade talks highlighted the importance of intellectual property rights protection. But the group stopped short of calling for sanctions against countries they consider to be in violation of those rights. At a 14 October event in Geneva, the World Business Leaders for Growth, formed solely to push the WTO negotiations, argued that trade liberalization builds a “meaningful bridge” between developing and developed countries. Because of that, the group does not believe in challenging countries such as China at the WTO for breaching obligations to protect intellectual property rights, but rather favors a strategy by which the West leads by example. According to Harold McGraw III, chairman, president and CEO of the McGraw-Hill companies, this was what the West had done during last week’s preparatory talks for the December WTO Hong Kong ministerial. He said moves by key countries such as the United States to offer further opening of their agricultural sectors could remove the blockages in other areas. McGraw led the Geneva meeting together with Yoshiro Kuwata, chairman of the board and representative executive officer of Hitachi. They had earlier in the week met with leading trade negotiators and ambassadors in Geneva, including WTO Director General Pascal Lamy. The ad hoc group consists of the Business Council of Australia, Business Roundtable (United States), Canadian Council of Chief Executives, Consejo Mexicano de Hombres de Negocios (Mexico), the European Round Table for Industrialists, and Nippon Keidanren (Japan). A group member told Intellectual Property Watch that it had been set up only for the WTO negotiations, and that it aimed to rectify a common misunderstanding that the global business community was not sufficiently interested in the negotiations launched in Doha, Qatar in 2001. McGraw said there was a need for a stronger voice on business concerns, for example, the protection of intellectual property rights in countries such as China and Brazil. But McGraw said he did not believe that China’s access to the WTO would cause difficulties for the Doha round negotiations. He noted that having started to liberalise its markets in 1978, no country had been modernised and liberalised quicker than China. Yet he said that “not enough progress” has been made on IP rights protection. He called on countries such as China, Brazil and India to show political leadership on the issue. Nevertheless, McGraw said that he personally did not believe in challenging China in terms of intellectual property rights violations at the WTO, noting that dispute resolution could lead to retaliation which could be dysfunctional. McGraw said that IP could not be separated out but was rather an “underlying value” in all trade agreements and thus “embedded into the system.” IP rights were the “enduring values,” he said, and one “cannot stress enough the importance” of them. "Business Leaders Cite IP Protection In Urging Progress In WTO Negotiations" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.