PRETORIA: United States Commerce Secretary Ron Brown says a trademarks dispute between the United States and South Africa needs to be resolved urgently.
'We are concerned that US companies are encountering real problems on the trademark front,' he said at the US-South Africa Business Development Committee meeting yesterday.
'It has been a great thrill to witness the return of American business to post-apartheid South Africa. We have answered the country's call to bring in US investment.' He said it was essential that the trademark problems be resolved because US companies saw the trademark issue as a barrier to 'entering and flourishing' in the South African market.
Mr Brown said since he brought the first group of US business executives to South Africa in 1993, 500 US firms now had commercial relationships with South Africa.
'About 235 US companies have direct investments or employees in South Africa and they employ more than 45,000 workers.' Mr Brown said he would sign a joint tourism agreement with Environmental Affairs and Tourism Deputy Minister Bantu Holomisa, in which the two parties would commit themselves to encouraging tourism between the two countries.
In the most high-profile trademark dispute, McDonald's Corp won a temporary injunction last month preventing South African businessmen from using the golden arches logo and the company's name in KwaZulu-Natal province.
A hearing has been postponed until March.