U.S. Chamber speaks to NAAG

By John O'Brien | Mar 6, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Counterfeiting and piracy are becoming larger problems and costing people their jobs, members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce told the National Association of Attorneys General Tuesday.

Caroline Joiner, Executive Director of the Chamber's Counterfeiting and Piracy Initiative, spoke to the NAAG on the second day of the association's three-day spring meeting, telling the 46 attorneys general in attendance that counterfeiting and piracy are issues that "threaten the economic core at the federal, state and local levels."

She also mentioned that Ford Motor Co. loses more than $1 billion every year to counterfeiters, and explained instances of counterfeit prescription drugs, electrical cords, cell phones and condoms that backfired on consumers.

Joiner added that 750,000 people have lost their jobs as a result of counterfeiting and piracy.

"It is no longer acceptable to sit back and let the criminals win," she said. "Too much is at stake."

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood took an interest in the presentation, asking if the Chamber has members that would be willing to assist his state with protective measures.

Hood suggested that the Chamber work on pilot projects in selected areas. Joiner already had said that the City of New York loses more than $1 billion in business every year because of counterfeiting and piracy.

Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker seemed to eager to work with the Chamber, calling the issues Joiner and Lisa Rickard, President of the Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform, raised "bread-and-butter stuff for AGs around the nation."

Also on Tuesday, the AGs met with U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and heard from Sen. John Kerry on criminal law.

"John Kerry was good," Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said.

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