WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Bush administration said Friday it created a new position to coordinate government efforts to combat the foreign theft of copyrighted products.
President Bush selected Christian Israel, currently a deputy chief of staff at the Commerce Department, to fill the new post of coordinator of international intellectual property enforcement.
Israel will head an interagency panel covering five government agencies and will report to Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez.
``Intellectual property theft costs U.S. businesses billions of dollars and weakens our economy,'' Gutierrez said. ``This new position will help us be more aggressive.''
Gutierrez said that one of Israel's early priorities would be helping to monitor recent pledges made by China to crack down on the piracy of American movies, music and computer software.
China announced earlier this month after officials met with Gutierrez in Beijing that it would file more criminal charges in copyright cases, crack down on Chinese exports of pirated products and focus special attention on movie piracy.
``We had a good session but we will find out how good it was as time transpires and we see results,'' Gutierrez said Friday in an interview with The Associated Press.
He said the pledge to intercept pirated products intended for export was especially significant because it was estimated that 70 percent of pirated products coming into the United States originate in China.
``It is a long list of tangible actions that can be measured and that we will be monitoring very closely,'' Gutierrez said of the new agreement reached with China.