The Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) today announced it opposes using tariffs to curb intellectual property (IP) theft and says it believes that the current, continued, and expected retaliatory tariffs could negate the Trump administration’s recent successful work on behalf of American companies, such as tax reform.
The protection of intellectual property is a critical issue for MEMA and its members, and the association has advocated for strong global protections of IP investments for decades. However, MEMA says it fears that escalating “this back-and-forth with a major trade partner” will not resolve the issue that intellectual property rights (IPR) protection is critical to the success of the motor vehicle parts manufacturing industry.
“Motor vehicle parts manufacturers conduct almost one‐third of the annual $18 billion investment by the automotive industry in research and development. Motor vehicle parts are particularly vulnerable to counterfeiting and IP theft activities. Strong IPR protections are needed to encourage companies to support important research and development investment and to foster innovation as IPR owners are provided certainty that their inventions and technological advancements will be safe from infringers,” MEMA states.
However, the tariffs are taxes that hurt U.S. companies, risk jobs and negatively affect consumers. “Instead, MEMA supports stronger bi-lateral engagement where China and the U.S. work together to protect the valuable IP of our members or leveraging the powerful relationships the U.S. has with other trading partners to pressure China to enforce their own IP laws and comply with international IP laws and regulations,” according to MEMA.
In May, MEMA testified before the United States Trade Representative against these tariffs, highlighting that IP theft protections are critical, but also argued tariffs on motor vehicle parts manufacturers will be ineffective. “To the contrary, such prohibitively high tariffs on these products will disproportionately harm U.S. businesses, including the motor parts and equipment manufacturers MEMA represents,” the association testified.
CLICK HERE to read MEMA’s full May testimony.