Editor’s Note: The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) issued the following statement on June 15:
MEMA applauds the administration’s continued focus to protect intellectual property. However, we oppose using tariffs to curb intellectual property theft. MEMA believes that retaliatory tariffs could negate the Trump administration’s recent successful work on behalf of American companies, such as tax reform.
The tariffs are taxes that hurt U.S. companies, put jobs at risk and negatively impact consumers. In May, MEMA testified before the United States Trade Representative (USTR) against these tariffs. During its testimony, MEMA highlighted that IP theft protections are critical but argued tariffs on motor vehicle parts manufacturers will be ineffective in obtaining these goals. 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.
Motor vehicle parts manufacturers conduct almost one-third of the annual $18 billion investment by the automotive industry in research and development, and for decades MEMA has advocated for strong global protections of IP investments. Given this investment in innovation, intellectual property rights protection is critical to the sustained success of the motor vehicle parts manufacturing industry. 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.
Tariffs are not the solution to this substantial and growing problem. Instead, MEMA supports stronger bi-lateral engagement where China and the U.S. work together to protect the valuable IP of our members, or the U.S. leveraging the powerful relationships we have with other trading partners to pressure China to enforce their own IP laws and comply with international IP laws and regulations.