The global counterfeit plague ("Fakes!" Cover Story, Feb. 7) is often not seen for what it is: a fraud on consumers, theft from the public purse in lost taxes, a lifeline to organized crime, and a threat to the integrity of legitimate brands and the enterprises that create and invest in them.
We at JT International, whose brands remain a target of organized counterfeiting, have worked with governments to fight back. Starting with informal information sharing, we provide training to customs officials as well as scientific expertise in the context of formal cooperation programs. Such industry-government cooperation is the only way to tame what is indeed the fastest-growing, single most damaging issue to global trade, harming both the private and public interest.
While "Fakes!" is superbly written, all facets of the problems have not yet been discussed. The Chinese government has done a great deal to counter the production of fake Western goods at the expense of many poor Chinese who only want a decent living above the poverty line. Obviously, you don't understand the emotional pain that goes with such legally right, morally wrong actions.
Clamping down on counterfeits is a difficult task, even in a dictatorship. Cut China some slack, will you? The Middle Kingdom's opening up to the West and the world at large has been great for us all. To ostracize China over such chronic problems would no doubt encourage them to pursue an isolationist policy. Let the government cooperate with the West by clamping down on wealthy counterfeiters on a gradual basis. If China closes its doors, counterfeit products will only boom as genuine products have no access to the world's potentially largest market.
"The high-tech threat from China" (Economic Viewpoint, Jan. 31) by Jeffrey E. Garten was excellent and right on target, yet he minces words by not touching on the strategic importance, in both peacetime and war, of U.S. high tech. Of course we hope that there will never be another war and that globalization will bring peace and prosperity to the entire world, but who are we kidding?
We are doing less and less American research, and because of our poor school system, we are more and more dependent on imported, better-qualified researchers for our high-tech war machine. We must be strong, self-sufficient, and the best in all we do, not just lazily importing the best the world has to send us. The military bears the real brunt of this threat.
"The high-tech threat from China" is not limited to China. Having been working in Silicon Valley f or 15 years, I find that with the advent of the Internet, U.S. companies are transferring intellectual property and research and development investments not only to China but also to India and other countries. A few of my friends at major U.S. high-tech companies in the Valley are actually managing hardware and software design centers in Bangalore, Shanghai, Singapore, etc.
I think you give the Chinese too much credit. Access to capital for Chinese entrepreneurs is difficult to come by. Existing industrial companies are notoriously weak when it comes to R&D. The R&D institutes have little ability to commercialize their research results; their management is weak; and their capability to enter a competitive marketplace is almost nil.
Yes there are exceptions such as Huawei and, to some extent, Lenovo. However, it is an illusion to think that China is making rapid progress in various R&D areas because foreign companies have set up facilities in China either to conduct R&D or to employ Chinese scientists and engineers. The reality is that these companies primarily want to take advantage of a growing, well-educated workforce at advantageous labor rates and, second, to position themselves in the Chinese marketplace.
Jack C. Fensterstock