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Short Takes: News from the International Trade Administration

United States and China Hold Joint Innovation Conference in Beijing

Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez kicked off a conference on innovation in Beijing, China, on December 10, 2007. In his keynote address, he noted that maintaining openness is not easy, but it is critical to building an innovative society.

The International Trade Administration’s Manufacturing and Services unit organized the conference, with the aim of allowing U.S. and Chinese participants to examine policies to foster the building of an innovative society.

During the one-day conference, 200 attendees heard government, industry, and academic speakers discuss topics such as the problem of government-mandated technology standards unique to China, the need for strong intellectual property rights protection in China, and the importance of letting markets—not governments—decide how to allocate investment capital in innovative industries.

Among the conclusions reached by the conference attendees was that the United States and China should continue to work together to foster innovation through such efforts as encouraging the Joint Commission on Science and Technological Cooperation, sharing best practices in measuring innovation, and supporting technology neutrality.

Import Safety Group Urges Continued Action on Counterfeits and Intellectual Property Rights Infringement

An action plan to ensure the safety of products imported into the United States was presented to President George W. Bush on November 6, 2007, by the Interagency Working Group on Import Safety. The group comprises representatives from 12 federal agencies, including the Department of Commerce. The group was established in July 2007 by the president in order to devise ways of better combating the importation of illegal, counterfeit, and dangerous products into the United States.

The group’s 10th recommendation focuses on strengthening intellectual property rights (IPR), and the Department of Commerce is the lead agency dealing with the issue. The department will work to expand information sharing about IPR infringement and to identify and target products, manufacturers, and distributors with potential safety violations. This expansion will include private–public partnerships with existing organizations, such as the Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP!) and the Coalition against Counterfeiting and Piracy Initiative.

Other matters discussed in the action plan that involve the Department of Commerce include ongoing standards dialogues with key trading partners, such as Brazil, the European Union, and India, and talks with China on pharmaceuticals and medical devices under the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade.

Overall, the report, “ Action Plan for Import Safety,” offers 14 broad recommendations and 50 specific action steps. The recommendations and steps are based on a strategic framework that was issued by the working group in September 2007. During each step of the report’s preparation, feedback was solicited from the public and interested stakeholders. Public meetings allowed interested parties to comment in person, or parties could submit written or electronic comments.

To access the full report, or to obtain more information about the Interagency Working Group on Import Safety, visit the working group’s home page at

Report Examines Export Potential of U.S. Coal Technology

Clean coal technology (CCT) allows coal to be burned with lower greenhouse gas emissions. “ Potential Exports of U.S. Clean Coal Technology through 2030,” a report recently published by the International Trade Administration’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries, states that U.S. technological preeminence in CCT presents an opportunity to export U.S. equipment and to license the technology to countries such as China and India, where coal-fired electricity production continues to expand.

U.S. exports of CCT equipment to Australia, Brazil, China, India, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, and South Korea, as well as to countries in the European Union, could amount to $36.0 billion between 2003 and 2030. China, India, and South Korea present the greatest potential at approximately $26.0 billion, $3.5 billion, and $3.2 billion, respectively. The calculations, which are based partially on data provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration and the Census Bureau’s World Trade Atlas, do not incorporate additional revenues to U.S. CCT companies from licensing fees and services.

China and India alone represent enormous potential for U.S. producers of CCT. “Coal-fired electricity-generating capacity is projected to increase by 546 gigawatts in China and 94 gigawatts in India, with those two countries representing 73 percent of projected worldwide electricity-generating capacity growth,” states the report.

The full text of the report is available on the Web. For more information about the export of energy and environmental technologies, visit the home page of the Office of Energy and Environmental Technologies.

Peru Free Trade Agreement Signed

President George W. Bush (right) shakes the hand of Peru’s President Alan García (left) after signing H.R. 3688

(White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

President George W. Bush (right) shakes the hand of Peru’s President Alan García (left) after signing H.R. 3688, the U.S.–Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act, on December 14, 2007, in Washington, D.C. The new free trade agreement will immediately eliminate duties on about 80 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial goods sold in Peru, and it will eliminate all remaining duties within 10 years. The agreement will also immediately eliminate duties on more than two-thirds of U.S. agricultural exports to Peru and will eliminate most of the remaining duties during the next 5 to 15 years. For information on export opportunities in Peru, visit the U.S. government export portal on the Web at


New Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Christopher A. PadillaOn December 19, 2007, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Christopher A. Padilla as under secretary of commerce for international trade. President George W. Bush nominated Padilla to the position on September 4, 2007. Padilla previously served as assistant secretary of commerce for export administration; chief of staff and senior adviser to Robert B. Zoellick, deputy secretary of state; and, from 2002 to 2005, assistant U.S. trade representative for intergovernmental affairs and public liaison. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)