Trade orgs push for prexy power

Groups urge Congress to give Bush power in free trade agreements

WASHINGTON — A coalition of trade orgs repping the entertainment biz has once again urged Congress to give the Bush Administration far-reaching authority to negotiate tough free trade agreements that open up foreign markets while protecting against rampant intellectual piracy.

Motion Picture Assn. of America prexy-CEO Jack Valenti and Recording Industry Assn. of America prexy-CEO Hilary Rosen were among the members of the Intl. Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) sending a two-page letter to Capitol Hill leadership last week.

Lawmakers are in the process of considering legislation that would cede power to President Bush when it comes to drawing up trade agreements with foreign countries, with the caveat that Congress gets final review. The president and Congress currently share power, meaning the White House can’t cut a deal without first getting approval from Capitol Hill.

“If America’s copyright industries are to remain successful in global markets, the president, in consultation with Congress and the private sector, must have effective and credible authority to negotiate bilateral, regional and multilateral trade agreements that will reduce barriers to American creative works, and enhance intellectual property protection and enforcement available for American creators,” the IIPA letter said.

Failure to give President Bush this trade authority would limit overseas market access and jeopardize intellectual property rights protection worldwide, the IIPA said.

Other trade orgs belonging to the IIPA are AFMA, the Assn. of American Publishers, the Business Software Alliance, the Interactive Digital Software Assn. and the National Music Publishers’ Assn. The coalition represents 1,900 companies producing and distributing copyrighted materials to markets around the globe.

It is not clear when Congress will consider the trade authority legislation, particularly in light of last week’s devastating terrorist attacks in Gotham and Washington.

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