A Counterfeit Backhoe — Chinese Fakes are BIG

By November 5, 2007Technology, Trade

[More from J.P. Fielder, senior communications director, from NAM President John Engler’s trade mission to Japan and China. In China, Engler is heading a delegation that represents the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, or ACTPN.]

Two very interesting points from the ACTPN delegation’s meeting with James Fallows, senior editor for The Atlantic Monthly and arguably the most knowledgeable journalist about the interrelation of U.S. and Chinese manufacturing. (His July cover story was, “China Makes, the World Takes.”)

First, Japan still dwarfs China in overall GDP and that we cannot lose focus on this important ally and manufacturing partner. This is something we discovered last week as the Japanese, from business leaders to government officials, were highly appreciative of Gov. Engler’s visit.

Second, protecting intellectual property should be a priority for U.S. policy toward China, and there’s plenty of work to be done. As a casual observer, I was struck by the prevalance of counterfeit products in China. Sure, everyone expects the swarms of vendors selling knock-off Rolexes, Coach purses and “Beijing 08” knit hats, but I became painfully aware of the issue while driving to the Great Wall during our one day of touring, on Sunday.

As we passed a roadside construction site, Al Bernard, an ACTPN delegate and senior vice president of Manitowoc, manufacturer of heavy cranes, pointed to one of the backhoes working at the site. “That’s a counterfeit backhoe,” he suddenly said. “WHAT!? How can you tell?” I asked. This side of counterfeiting is very new to me, as I thought it was an industry making cheap junk (think T-shirts, purses and poorly constructed watches) in a garage. Wrong! This is about real American products being ripped off and built in foreign factories. In this case, it was a Caterpillar backhoe, not exactly something you slap together in the back garage but something that requires a legitimate assembly line and manufacutring facility.

Caterpillar is a strong all-American company based in Peoria, Illinois. Chinese free-riding on the ingenuity of hard-working Americans, not to mention the millions in R&D, is just not right. The rampant counterfeiting needs to be addressed by the Chinese government and with consultation from the international community, if necessary.

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Jessica says:

    Upon reading, A Counterfeit Backhoe — Chinese Fakes are BIG, I became compelled to reach out to you. Finally, counterfeiting and piracy is being publicized for the enormous problem that it is globally. But recognizing it isn’t enough – we all need to join in on the fight against it. Our ammunition needs to be cost effective, simple to use and reliable at providing the highest levels of security.

    Through education and empowerment, we need to develop an environment naturally disruptive to the criminal activity that leads to financial loss, destroyed reputations and regulatory repercussions. Today’s marketplace and general public not only need to be aware of the magnitude of this potential calamity, but also understand that there is a solution.

    Please visit http://www.authenticate360.com, inventors of AutheniGuard On-Demand. This document security technology is the answer. With copy protection and 100% authentication capabilities, we now have the ammunition to combatant the seriousness of the issues in “A Counterfeit Backhoe — Chinese Fakes are BIG.” AuthentiGuard On-Demand can eliminate the threat of misrepresentation through all documentation and provide the level of security that we all deserve.

    Please help me in joining the fight and spreading this message to all of your valued readers. We’ve recognized the issue. We’ve developed the solution. Now, we need to implement the answer.

  • R buck says:

    The types of fraud are increasingly shocking. Our company produces papers with security features built into the substrate. Many types of printing can be faked or replicated however it’s quite different to fake paper. It would be interesting to see the Cerficate of Orgin that would have been issued with the fake backhoe and compare it to an original to see if any security feature in the orginal were circumvented or even present.

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