Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Smith and Colleagues Push USTR to Protect American High Tech Trade

In late May, Congressman Adam Smith and several colleagues signed a letter to President Bush urging him to take formal action against the European Union (EU) for violating the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) by placing tariffs on high-tech products imported from the United States. Adam signed a similar letter to U.S. Trade Representative Schwab last August. Recently, Schwab announced that the U.S. had formally asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to settle the dispute with the EU over tariffs on high-tech products.

The ITA, signed ten years ago, allowed duty-free trade on high-tech products, spurring innovation and economic growth. However, the European Union continues to place tariffs on certain high-tech products, such as satellite boxes, computer monitors and multi-task printers, which are imported from the U.S. These tariffs threaten to raise prices for consumers, limit European markets to American products, and impair technological development.

Adam is pleased that the U.S. is seeking formal action against the EU. “These and other high-tech products are the backbone of America’s innovation-focused economy, and we must ensure our ability to compete fairly around the world. This is an important step for the U.S. high-technology industry, and I look forward to the resolution of this issue,” Adam said.

Smith Works to Strengthen Intellectual Property Rights

Adam recently sent a letter to his House colleagues calling attention to and asking support for H.R. 4279, the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Rights (PRO-IP) Act. This legislation would strengthen civil and criminal laws to deter copyright infringement and combat counterfeiting and piracy of intellectual property. Additionally, H.R. 4279 provides additional resources and governmental coordination to enforce U.S. intellectual property rights domestically and internationally. The House passed the bill overwhelmingly on May 8, 2008, and the legislation is now pending before the Senate.

As a co-Chair of the bipartisan House Intellectual Property Caucus, Adam is committed to ensuring that intellectual property protection and international piracy issues are addressed in Congress. “Intellectual property is at the core of progress in American industry and economic growth. Protection of the U.S. innovative economy is critical to our nation’s future, and I am proud to help lead this effort in Congress," Adam said.


If you’d like to share your opinion or ask a question about technology issues, please contact Linda Danforth, District Director, at 253.896.3782 or

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