Beyond the Fact: Competitiveness and Piracy


By Walter Cirillo, Jornal do Brasil - 24/01/2005

Exports of Brazilian products have been growing at an interesting pace. The country's trade balance improves every day, with a favorable impact on employment and investment levels. In the past five years, exports to North America, for example, have grown by almost 60%, with the majority being manufactured products with some degree of technological development.
At the same time, companies that invest the most in product research and development, attentive to customer needs and consumer desires, are earning, on average, 30% more than their competitors. Their profitability is higher, they make more exports and can pay better wages.

This good news gives new impetus to the industrial sector. They also offer a preview of the path to achieving permanent business success. The increase in the competitiveness of the national industry necessarily involves research and development (R&D) and a consistent policy of opening new markets. A company that invests in R&D adds value to the product, exports more and better. And it also sells better on the domestic market. In this sense, the enactment of the Innovation Law came in good time, a demand from important sections of society, such as the Uniemp Institute.

The evolution of industrial competitiveness, however, could be accelerated if issues related to Custo Brasil and, at the same time, piracy of certain products arriving in our country were definitively resolved. The official figures are alarming and the loss of revenue has been phenomenal. In addition to the damage to the country's external image, there is a loss for a group of exporting companies to the stronger markets.

The culture of disrespect for intellectual property of those who invested knowledge and money to develop products and services needs to be changed. This attitude undermines the creative capacity of the Brazilian industrialist and has serious repercussions on the economy. A potential risk is the exclusion of Brazilian products from the list of the General System of Preferences (SGP), especially those sent to the USA. In the current economic conditions, Brazil cannot give up these mechanisms to reduce the rates granted by the richest countries to products imported from developing countries.

An important advance was the creation of the National Council to Combat Piracy and Crimes against Intellectual Property, with the decision to take coordinated action against piracy crimes, including public awareness campaigns, funded by the private sector.

Companies that invest in the development of value-added products, such as Rhodia, are aligned in this regard. If they have no other reasons to support this type of action, they consider being able to meet consumer demand for quality, competitive products that value the intelligence of the Brazilian people.

* Walter Cirillo is president of Rhodia and Instituto Uniemp - Universidade e Empresa.