This past March, U.S. President Donald Trump shared plans to impose a strict, new regimen of tariffs on Chinese imports. Dr. Kamil Idris, a professor at the International Court of Arbitration and Mediation (ICAM) in Switzerland, notes the tariffs are valued at around $50 billion. With his work at ICAM falling under the International Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Idris is well-versed in the intricacies of international trade.
President Trump believes, as do many observers, that China is advantaging itself through acquisitions of U.S. tech patents and innovation. According to a United States Trade Representatives Report from 2017, China’s actions amount to intellectual property (IP) theft numbering hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Kamil Idris worries, though, that these tariffs, which affect most U.S. trading partners, though Mexico and Canada are shielded, for the time, by NAFTA, may lead to a trade war, not only with China, but Europe as well. A trade war could lead to a slowdown in economic growth that the embattled U.S. President may want to avoid.
These perceived financial losses in IP stem from government findings that China, purchasing ownership stakes in American companies, forces those businesses to share technology and IP with Chinese subsidiaries. There is an added concern, says Dr. Idris, that resources in China are conducting outright cyber theft of American IP. None of this is helped by the fact that many international firms are willing, in effect, to buy access to the lucrative Chinese market by trading IP secrets and technologies. Idris also has concerns about whether the President’s actions are legal and justified, noting that civil and criminal law proceedings are more effective when the IP theft is at the hands of individuals, rather than governments.
Dr. Idris also lends his background in trade law and intellectual property law to the mission of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), acting as the Director of the Geneva-based organization. Under his leadership, WIPO launched World Intellectual Property Day, celebrated April 26 each year, to bring attention and awareness to complex issues surrounding trademarks, copyrights, and patents.
With his work at ICAM, Kamil Idris is able to channel his knowledge into a historic forum for addressing and resolving international trade disputes and matters of IP. His talents and knowledge are much sought-after, and he works tirelessly, outside the framework of these organizations, to carry out their missions. Dr. Idris is frequently invited by some of the world’s biggest organizations to handle matters of arbitration, working towards his goal of international cooperation.