WASHINGTON — As the global economic situation continues to deteriorate, U.S. trade officials are concerned China could regress on intellectual property protections, according to a new report.
According to an annual “priority watch list” released by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office on Thursday, reports have emerged that despite increased attention to intellectual property rights in China, officials there are pushing for less stringent enforcement efforts, a trend of particular concern for apparel and footwear companies struggling to protect their brands abroad.
“I am particularly troubled by reports that Chinese officials are urging more lenient enforcement of IPR [intellectual property rights] laws, motivated by the financial crisis and the need to maintain jobs,” said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. “China needs to strengthen its approach to IPR protection and enforcement, not weaken it.”
China was one of 12 countries named on the USTR’s priority watch list for countries that don’t adequately safeguard or enforce intellectual property rights. The list also included Russia, India, Thailand, Pakistan, and, for the first time, Canada.
According to the most recent statistics from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, $102.3 million worth of fake shoes was seized in fiscal year 2008. An additional $25.1 million of apparel and $29.6 million of handbags, wallets and backpacks were seized during the same period. China was the source of 81 percent of all goods seized for intellectual property violations in 2008.
It is important for the U.S. to maintain a strict trademark and copyright policy to protect apparel and footwear companies, said Kevin Burke, president of the American Apparel & Footwear Association.
The Silk Street Market in Beijing was named as “an egregious example” of the counterfeiting of consumer products that is “endemic” in markets throughout China, the report said. The notorious market, where many counterfeit apparel and accessories can be found, has been the focus of a number of government and industry efforts to protect U.S. brands in China. Despite pressure from authorities to improve compliance beginning in 2005, “the intervening years have brought limited progress,” the report said.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty