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Martin, Sen. Casey Fight Unfair Trade Practices

Sen. Bob Casey has joined forces with Martin to urge China to end trade practices that allegedly harm workers and businesses in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, as well as across the country.

"Pennsylvania businesses are telling me that unfair trade practices by the Chinese have harmed their ability to compete, and job losses substantiate those claims," Casey said. "The lack of protection on the part of the Chinese hurts C.F. Martin & Co. and countless other businesses and workers. China must address intellectual property rights infringements and currency undervaluation."

In January, Music Inc. reported that a Chinese-based company had acquired the Martin trademark in China and began making and marketing its own Martin guitars.

Martin executives said they have fought to register the Martin trademark with the Chinese government since 2005 to protect the brand and prevent China from selling counterfeit guitars.

"We are greatly honored to have an ongoing relationship with Sen. Casey, and we can't express in words how much we appreciate his openness and willingness to assist us in rectifying our dilemma with respect to protecting our valued trademark in China," said Chris Martin, chairman and CEO of Martin. "This is not an easy issue, and we hope that such a significant and caring voice will help to get positive action on this vital and frustrating issue."

Last month, Casey sent a letter to President Barack Obama detailing the hardships imposed on Martin by China's trade practices and urging him to press the issue with Chinese President Hu Jintao during his visit to Washington D.C. In the letter, Casey asked President Obama to focus his discussions with Hu around intellectual property rights (IPR) protections and currency valuation.

China's inadequate intellectual property protections are well documented, the letter stated. Last April, the Office of the United States Trade Representative placed China on its Priority Watch List, citing China's poor level of IPR protection and enforcement.

It's estimated that 2.4 million jobs have been lost in the United States since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. About 95,700 of those jobs have been in Pennsylvania.

Caption: C.F. Martin's Chris Martin (left) and Sen. Bob Casey