The United State was successful in preventing a Chinese official from being named director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
A Singaporean official defeated a candidate from China in a leadership contest for the UN’s intellectual property body, which was swept into a rift between Washington and Beijing over claims of Chinese theft of technological know-how.
Daren Tang, the CEO of Singapore’s intellectual property office, won the nomination to become the WIPO chief, defeating China’s Wang Binyang.
Related: U.S. stunned China could control UN’s powerful WIPO: IP theft at $225-600 billion, March 3, 2020
Top U.S. officials, including White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, had objected to Wang’s nomination. The U.S. officials said it was absurd that China, which engages in hundreds of billions of dollars of intellectual property theft per year, should head up an agency devoted to protecting intellectual property.
“The U.S. believes that giving control of WIPO to a representative of China would be a terrible mistake,” Navarro wrote in the Financial Times last week.
Navarro added that Chinese intellectual property theft costs the U.S. economy between $225 billion and $600 billion annually, as well as costing Europe billions in Euros.
WIPO’s “coordination committee” handed a 55-28 victory to Tang in a final round of voting that began Wednesday with five candidates vying to replace the agency’s outgoing chief, Francis Gurry of Australia, The Associated Press reported.
WIPO’s general assembly has final say in May, but it has never rejected a committee nominee since the 192-country agency was created in 1967.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered congratulations to Tang, calling him “an effective advocate for protecting intellectual property.“
“We look forward to working closely with him during his tenure as Director General to advance WIPO’s core mission of safeguarding intellectual property as a means of driving innovation, investment, and economic opportunity,” Pompeo said in a statement.