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August 22, 2014

The One-Two Punch Against American Agriculture

It’s almost as if it is official U.S. policy to make it difficult for American businesses to succeed.

First and most significantly, we subject American businesses to the highest tax rates among all of our competitors—39.1% when you add in state taxes. That’s significantly higher than the O.E.C.D average of 25 percent, and it’s even higher than the supposedly “high tax European countries”—consider that Belgium (34 percent), France (34.4 percent), and Sweden (22 percent) all have lower business taxes than does the United States.

Then, at least for select industries, we aid their overseas competitors. Through the Export-Import Bank we finance foreign purchases of Boeing jets, which helps foreign competitors of Delta, Southwest, American, FedEx and UPS. We could solve that problem this year by simply allowing Ex-Im to expire.

We allow other of our domestic industries to be exposed to blatant market manipulation and outright attack by our trading partners, particularly in agriculture. Yes, American agriculture policy is a rats nest of loans, supports and protections that are hard to justify in a free-market economy, and conservatives recognize these as market distorting. Of course we should move toward phasing out these protections. Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

June 17, 2014

Export-Import Bank loaning money to drug cartels

In an op/ed published Wednesday in the Dallas Morning News I argue that Republicans should let the Export-Import Bank expire instead of reauthorizing it.

In the piece, I mention a charge that the Export-Import Bank may have loaned money to Mexican drug cartels.

Of course, you can't put hyperlinks or footnotes in op/eds. So here's the source of that little factoid from 2007, compliments of the Wayback Machine.

DALLAS - A News 8 investigation has found that a little known government agency may have unwittingly wasted taxpayers money on top of using the funds to support criminal activity.

The probe originally revealed that small business loans sponsored by the Export-Import Bank of the United States were made to non-existing companies for equipment that wasn't even real.

Now, New 8 has discovered that some of the people who got the Ex-Im Bank loans may have drug connections. The $243 million worth of bad loans were originally made to help trade with Mexico.

The loans have been linked to the Juarez drug cartel, which is known for its brutal murders. The cartel killed one dozen people and buried them in a suburban backyard across the border fro El Paso.

Another loan was linked to the Sinaloa drug cartel, whose business is smuggling heroin into the United States.

The federally funded Ex-Im Bank apparently backed loans to people affiliated with both cartels and the Mexican drug trade.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, News 8 asked for all documentation related to defaulted small business loans made to Mexico from 2002 to 2005. Although there were nearly 200 bad loans, so far, information on only 34 cases has been turned over.

But the bank did give a list of the defaulted loans and the names and addresses of the people who got them in Mexico.

"They have drug connections, which is very disheartening to think that the U.S. government is lending money to documented traffickers in the drug trade that are tied into the cartels in Mexico," said Phil Jordan, the former head of the El Paso Intelligence Center for the DEA and Border Patrol in El Paso.

Jordan ran background checks of the borrowers with two federal sources and found borrowers from Juarez and Sinaloa with criminal ties to money laundering, organized crime or drugs in Mexico. Jordan said he was surprised to find that the Ex-Im Bank didn't do similar checks before guaranteeing the loans. Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

June 12, 2014

Ireland Plain Packaging Regulation Misguided, Harmful

Posted by Erin Humiston | Comments

April 7, 2014

Sen. Mike Lee Agrees with IPI on Ending the Ex-Im Bank

Great piece in National Review today by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) on eliminating the Export-Import Bank.

I couldn't have said it any better, Senator Lee, though I did try.

Several times.

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

March 21, 2014

Speaking at Cato on IP in the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Tom at Cato on IP in the TPPI had the privilege of speaking a couple of weeks ago at a Cato Institute briefing on whether it is wise or appropriate to include intellectual property protection in trade agreements, specifically in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the major trade agreement that is currently in a pretty vital stage of negotiation. The name of the event was "Intellectual Property in the Trans-Pacific Partnership: National Interest or Corporate Handout?" It was kind of Bill Watson at Cato to invite me to participate, and you can see the video of the event on Cato's website here. You can also see my Powerpoint slide deck here.

My role at the event was to speak from the perspective that intellectual property protections should be part of such trade agreements. I was in the definite minority, as both the other two panelists and the moderator are all skeptical of IP protection in general, and certainly don't think we should be using trade agreements as leverage to ask our trading partners to raise their IP protection standards. But I was happy to play that role. Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

February 10, 2014

US Files WTO Complaint Against India's Domestic Content Requirements for Solar Panels

Today, the U.S. filed an official complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against India for its domestic content requirements for solar panels.

Domestic content requirements are prohibited in most cases under WTO agreements.

Of course, the details of this dispute relevant to the solar panel industry are important. But this dispute takes place in a much wider trade dispute context in which India has been purposely ignoring and violating the rights of intellectual property rights holders as part of their domestic industrial policy. Particularly in the area of prescription drug patents.

As Sally Pipes writes in Forbes:

Over the last two years, the Indian government has attacked pharmaceutical patents with increasing aggression. In March 2012, it issued its first “compulsory license” for a kidney-cancer drug made by Bayer AG. A compulsory license allows firms to make generic copies of drugs supposedly still protected by patents in exchange for a licensing fee set by the government. The patent holder has no say in the matter.

Later that year, the Indian government revoked Pfizer’s patent on Sutent, which treats gastrointestinal tumors and advanced kidney cancer. No other country has taken such an action.

And in early 2013, India’s Supreme Court denied patent protection for Glivec, which is used to treat leukemia, despite the fact that it continues to be protected by patents in almost every other country.

To date, India has issued compulsory licenses or revoked patents for eight advanced pharmaceuticals. Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

November 17, 2013

The truth about the leaked IP chapter of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

October 30, 2013

Pro-TPP Caucus Formed on the Hill

Today, a new caucus was formed on Capitol Hill in support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

"Friends of the Trans Pacific Partnership" was formed by Congressmen Dave Reichert (R-WA), Ron Kind (D-WI), Charles Boustany (R-LA), and Gregory Meeks (D-NY). Here's a link to the press release from Congressman Reichert.

As the TPP (hopefully) begins to draw toward a successful completion, it's good to see support for the agreement beginning to form on Capitol Hill. Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

July 8, 2013

IPI participating this week in TTIP negotiations

This week marks the initial negotiating session for the new Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement, which is a new free trade agreement between the U.S. and the European Union. And IPI will be there.

Like most trade agreements, the goals include lowering tariffs, but because the E.U. countries are for the most part advanced economies, there will be more focus on technical regulations, standards and certifications—all designed to make it easier to sell and ship goods between the U.S. and the E.U.

There’s nearly a $trillion per year in trade between the U.S. and the E.U., but the barriers are such that both sides of the agreement think there are $billions in savings to be achieved by lowering tariffs and otherwise making it easier to do business across the pond. Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

May 22, 2013

Special 301 - What's So Special?

Earlier this month, the USTR released this year's Special 301 report. The report is prepared and released annually, identifying trade barriers to U.S. companies doing business in another country because of a lack of "adequate and effective" intellectual property laws, that is, laws, or the lack thereof, that result in inappropriate protection for intellectual property rights.

As a general proposition, this year's report was no surprise.  The list of violators, of those who need to step up their efforts (to say the least), is fairly predictable.

China: "USTR reports grave concerns about misappropriation of trade secrets in China, and incremental progress on a few of China’s many other significant IPR and market access challenges"

Former Russia state, Ukraine: "USTR designates Ukraine a Priority Foreign Country (PFC) under the Special 301 statute due to severe deterioration of enforcement in the areas of government use of pirated software and piracy over the Internet, as well as denial of fair and equitable market access through the authorization and operation of copyright collecting societies" Read More >>

Posted by Bartlett D. Cleland | Comments

May 1, 2013

USTR releases annual "Special 301" report

Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative has released its annual "Special 301" report which details the "adequacy and effectiveness of U.S. trading partners’ protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR)."

The report can be found here (it's a 59 page PDF).

From the press release:

  • USTR designates Ukraine a Priority Foreign Country (PFC) under the Special 301 statute due to severe deterioration of enforcement in the areas of government use of pirated software and piracy over the Internet, as well as denial of fair and equitable market access through the authorization and operation of copyright collecting societies;
  • USTR reports grave concerns about misappropriation of trade secrets in China, and incremental progress on a few of China’s many other significant IPR and market access challenges;
  • USTR adds Barbados, Bulgaria, Paraguay, and Trinidad and Tobago to the Watch List due to specific problems identified in the report;
  • USTR announces that while El Salvador and Spain are not listed in the Report, USTR will conduct out-of-cycle reviews to assess progress on IPR challenges identified in this year’s reviews of those countries; 
  • Canada moves from the Special 301 Priority Watch List to the Watch List in recognition of significant progress on copyright issues, while USTR continues to work with Canada to address several remaining IPR concerns; and
  • Brunei Darussalam and Norway move off of the Special 301 Watch List.
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    Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

February 13, 2013

Texas is #1 Exporting State -- By a Mile

According to statistics from the Commerce Department, in 2012 Texas was the #1 exporting state in the country--and by a mile, too:

  • Texas total exports for 2012 were $265.4bn compared to #2 California with $161.7bn
  • Top destinations for Texas exports in 2012: Mexico ($94.8bn); Canada ($23.7bn); China ($10.3bn); Brazil ($10.0bn);  Netherlands ($9.5bn); South Korea ($7.8bn); Venezuela ($6.9bn); Singapore ($6.3); Colombia ($5.6bn); Japan ($4.7bn)
  •  Texas' top exporting industry segments for 2012: Petroleum and Coal Product ($57.2bn); Chemicals ($47.0); Computer and Electronic Products ($45.2); Machinery, except electrical ($29.4); Transportation Equipment ($25.2); Electrical Equipment, Appliances and Components ($9.2); Fabricated Metal Products ($9.0); Primary Metal Manufacturing ($7.9); Food and Kindred Products ($5.4);  Oil and Gas ($5.3); Plastics and Rubber Products ($4.3); Agricultural Products ($4.3)  
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    Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

June 30, 2012

IPI presenting at Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations in San Diego

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

June 1, 2012

Next Round of Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations July 2-10, 2012

It's been announced that the next round of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations will be held in San Diego July 2-10, 2012. Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments


Total Records: 44


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