Francis Gurry led WIPO as Director General from October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2020.

WIPO Director General Visits China for Series of High Level Meetings and Participates in Belt and Road Summit

April 30, 2019

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry visited China from April 24 to 26, 2019, for a series of high-level meetings during a stay that culminated with participation in a Belt and Road Forum summit.

On April 26, 2019, Mr. Gurry took part in the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Development, opened by Chinese President Xi Jinping with attendance by more than 5,000 participants from 150 countries and 90 international organizations.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry delivers keynote speech on April 25, 2019 at the High-level Forum on China IP Protection Thematic Forums of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation organized by the Ministry of Science in Beijing, China (photo: WIPO/Wang Yi).

This widespread participation in the Belt and Road Forum reflects the growing importance of the Belt and Road Initiative, which began six years ago with a focus on infrastructure connecting China with central Asia, Europe and Africa but has since expanded into other areas of international cooperation including technological development.

In a recent interview, Mr. Gurry said: “This is an important initiative for global development, which creates and enhances connections between people and institutions economically, culturally and socially.” He added: “There is an expectation that the Belt and Road Initiative will also help strengthen global innovation networks, with an increase in technological innovation and economic development across the globe.”

On April 24, 2019, Mr. Gurry met with Mr. Wang Yong, State Councilor of China, for an exchange of views on the role of IP in boosting creativity and innovation in the country. They reviewed measures taken by the Chinese Government to enhance effective IP protection.

Mr. Wang Yong and Mr. Gurry also attended the Launching Ceremony of the 2019 National IP Publicity Week of China. In opening remarks, the Director General highlighted the importance of awareness raising on the importance of intellectual property (IP) in incentivizing innovation and creativity. He welcomed China’s commitment to this, demonstrated through the Publicity Week and as well as activities marking World Intellectual Property Day.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry (left) met on April 24, 2019 with Chinese State Councillor Wang Yong (photo: WIPO/Wu Kai).

The proposal to institute a World Intellectual Property Day was originally presented by China in 1999. This led to a decision by the WIPO General Assembly to designate each April 26 (the date on which the WIPO Convention entered into force) as World Intellectual Property Day.  Since then, China has been active in promoting activities to raise awareness each year during the month of April.

Mr. Gurry also presented a keynote speech at the main plenary session of the 2019 High-Level Forum on China IP Protection which followed the inauguration ceremony. More than 1,000 participants attended the High-Level Forum, which the WIPO Office in China co-organized with the China Intellectual Property News outlet.

Mr. Gurry also met with Commissioner Shen Changyu of the Chinese National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) for an exchange of views on the latest developments in the international IP system. They also discussed current joint projects between WIPO and CNIPA. A memorandum of understanding to establish Technology and Innovation Support Centers under CNIPA in China was also signed during the meeting.

On April 25, 2019, Mr. Gurry delivered an opening speech at the Silk Road Innovation Thematic Forum of the Second Belt and Road Forum, which was organized by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST). Following the opening, the Director General met with MOST Minister Wang Zhigang.

During his visit to China, Dr. Gurry also met with Minister of the State Administration for Market Regulation Zhang Mao, Minister of the Cyberspace Administration of China Mr. Zhuang Rongwen, and Vice Mayor of Shanghai Municipality Chen Qun.

Francis Gurry (left) met on April 25, 2019, with Minister of Cyberspace Administration of China Zhuang Rongwen (right) (photo: courtesy of Cyberspace Administration of China).
Francis Gurry (right) met on April 25, 2019 with Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang (photo: WIPO/Wang Yi).