Piracy: US threatens to retaliate against Brazil


By FABÍOLA SALVADOR and ADRIANA FERNANDES - The State of S. Paulo, 23/09/2004

BRASÍLIA - The Brazilian government yesterday expressed confidence that the United States will not retaliate against Brazil for disrespecting intellectual property. In a meeting with the deputy representative of American Trade, Peter Allgeier, the Foreign Ministry presented a 40-page report with the advances made by Brazil, in the last years, in the fight against piracy. But despite the government's confidence, the American representative did not rule out the risk that the US would withdraw Brazil from its General System of Preferences (SGP), which causes about US $ 2 billion in Brazilian exports to enter the American territory at zero tariff. .

In meeting with Ambassador Clodoaldo Hugueney, head of the Itamaraty economic area, Allgeier claimed that in order to benefit from the tariff preference, the US Congress requires, among other measures, the protection of intellectual property. According to him, it will not be simply with “one or two measures” adopted by Brazil that the American government will decide the problem.

For Hugueney, the Brazilian report is sufficient to convince Americans not to retaliate against Brazilian exports. "There is no doubt about it," said the Brazilian representative. Manufacturers of auto parts, chemicals and industrial goods will be most affected if the United States retaliates against Brazil.

In defense of the Brazilian position, Hugueney went so far as to say that piracy in the USA is much greater and more sophisticated than in Brazil. “There is a huge problem there. The expressive (piracy) figures are much higher in the United States than in Brazil ”, argued the Brazilian ambassador in the counterattack. According to him, there is a “sophisticated and highly technological piracy” in the USA that is not verified in the country. “Brazil is one of the countries that has one of the most modern legislation in the field of intellectual property, but it also acts in a determined way in the fight against piracy."

In the report presented yesterday to the American government, an attachment was included with statistics on the seizure of pirated products in actions by the Federal Revenue, Federal Police and state police. Much of the report was based on the work of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) of the National Congress on piracy. The government also confirmed in the report that it will create a National Council to Combat Piracy, the most powerful body that will define a national plan. to face the problem.

Peter Allgeier said there is no deadline to make the decision. The American government will now analyze the information provided by Brazil in the report. He declined to make any indication as to the position that could be taken. "I can't speculate," he said.

The American government also presented a report to Itamaraty on the measures that have been adopted to combat piracy. Also the subject of yesterday's negotiations was the opening of the American market for fresh beef and the anti-dumping action that US fishermen are taking against Brazilian shrimp. But there was no progress in the talks.

The US representative also said that the American government is closely monitoring the developments in the negotiations between the European Union and Mercosur. Although the creation of the Free Trade Area of ​​the Americas (FTAA) was not the subject of conversations with his Brazilian colleague, Ambassador Clodoaldo Hugueney, head of the Itamaraty economic area, Allgeier said that only with a “miracle” the deadlines for the formation of the FTAA would be fulfilled. "But as Brazil is the land of miracles, we cannot exclude them." The initial deadline for concluding the negotiations is January 2005.

Error - In a note distributed yesterday afternoon, the American embassy in Brasilia states that a phrase said on Tuesday, in São Paulo, by Allgeier, in the context of the protection of intellectual property, was translated incorrectly. According to the note, the phrase attributed to Allgeier "I am mystified" literally means "I am confused" or "I am perplexed". The American official did not mean that the Brazilian government's positions regarding intellectual property would represent a “mystification”.