VShis election is probably not on your radar screen, and yet it deserves your attention. It has in any case retained that of the Trump administration: on March 5, the coordinating committee of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will choose its next managing director. WIPO, headquartered in Geneva, is a specialized UN agency that brings together 192 countries and, as its name suggests, ensures the development of an intellectual property system “Balanced and efficient”.
Ten candidates have declared themselves to succeed the Australian Francis Gurry. The best placed – surprise, surprise – is a candidate, the Chinese Wang Binying. And this is where all the lights turn red on the American radar screen. Because in the words of a foreign policy expert in Washington, to appoint a Chinese to head WIPO, “It is not to introduce the wolf into the sheepfold, it is to put the burglar at the head of the bank”.
Ms. Wang has patiently climbed the ranks of WIPO since 1992: she knows the organization inside out. To counter it, the Americans campaign for the candidate of Singapore, Daren Tang, owner of the agency of the intellectual property of the Asian city-state, which posts on the matter a balance more than correct.
Why is the United States devoting so much energy to this election? One reason is the growing influence of Beijing in multilateral organizations, especially those that manage sectors of primary importance to China and of which it has taken the lead, such as the FAO (Organization for Agriculture and Food) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
The other reason is the link, even distant, with 5G, the mother of all battles in the war for technological supremacy between China and the United States. Fearing for its security, Washington decided to exclude the Chinese giant Huawei from suppliers for 5G. But no American firm offers the equipment necessary for the implementation of this powerful technology, in which Huawei is the leader, followed by European Nokia and Ericsson and South Korean Samsung. This lack of an American alternative sows panic in Washington and discord in transatlantic relations, already quite tense.
The subject exploded during debates at the Munich security conference, from February 14 to 16, opposing Americans of all stripes, Democrats and Republicans, to Europeans, before Chinese angels. The President of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, has warned Europeans against opening their 5G to Huawei, which would amount to “Slip a Chinese policeman into your pocket” of each citizen. Is that so ? has pretended to surprise the Chinese official Fu Ying, so the American democratic system is so fragile that it can feel threatened by the opening to a Chinese company? “We have integrated western technologies and our system has stood firm! “.