China counterfeits take 200 LI jobs, string maker saysBy JAMES BERNSTEIN
February 9, 2011
Jim D'Addario has been so troubled about the issue of counterfeit guitar strings coming from overseas that late last year the family-owned company he runs -- Farmingdale-based D'Addario & Co. -- set up its own sting operation in China.
About 500 sets of counterfeit strings were bought in the sting in the People's Republic of China. But despite those results, and raids the company has staged in the country, little progress has been made on the issue, D'Addario said.
"It kills me," D'Addario, chairman and chief executive of the company, said of the scant dent made in overseas counterfeiting operations, particularly from China.
"I've lived this place [the company] for 40 years. It's like somebody breaking into your house."
His company is one of the largest musical string manufacturers in the world.
D'Addario, 61, spoke in his office Monday, the day that Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) dropped by for a visit and was given the National Association of Manufacturers Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence. The award is given to members of Congress who maintain a voting record of 70 percent or higher in favor of issues important to manufacturers. King had a 76 percent key voting rating.
In a speech before some of D'Addario's 800 Long Island employees -- the company has a total of 1,100 -- King said he planned to spend a day with Secret Service officials to discuss the counterfeiting issue. "A lot has been done," King said. "But more could be done. It's a very major issue."
So major, in fact, that D'Addario said counterfeiting costs the company between 5 percent and 15 percent of its annual sales, which total about $130 million. If not for the counterfeiting, D'Addario said, the company could hire as many as 200 more employees on the Island.
The Chinese government is sensitive to the issue, said Wang Baodong, a Chinese embassy spokesman in Washington, D.C. "The Chinese government is very serious about intellectual property rights," he said. He said the government has launched a crackdown on counterfeiters.
Nonetheless, D'Addario said, he plans to go to Washington this spring to lobby lawmakers on the need for tough legislation.