Monday, October 27, 2014


Maybe I am naive, but I like to do business with a handshake – or in the case of Washington Trade Daily – a digital handshake.  In that way I hope to maintain trust with readers – even though some are dispersed around the globe and others only a couple of miles away in downtown Washington.

It’s been that way for 25 years – and 99.9 percent of the time, things have worked out well.

But this past week WTD took a double whammy.

Case number 1 – We received a call from Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada from a staffer who wanted to be added to her office’s subscription to WTD.  I said of course and asked for the e-mail addresses of the new readers.
Later in the week, when I went to make the changes in the subscription, I found that Foreign Affairs Canada, indeed, did not subscribe.
I discovered – and they later admitted – that the Canadian mission in Geneva had taken upon itself to redistribute WTD – apparently willy-nilly – around the globe, including to its ministerial base.
Every issue of WTD includes in bold type:  WTD is intended for readers within the office that subscribes.  PLEASE do not redistribute.

I cut off the Geneva subscription.  They wanted their money back after having sent WTD free of charge to Ottawa for at least four years.

POST SCRIPT – Who was among the half dozen illegal recipients of our stolen intellectual property rights?  None other than chief Canadian trade negotiator Steve Verheul, who had spent the past four years negotiating a free trade agreement with the European Union.  That agreement includes a chapter on intellectual property rights.

Case Number 2 – Quite often we receive bounce-back notices from subscribers.  One received said that Tim Lindemayer was not in the office and would not be back until October 26.  It was signed – Tim Lindemayer, Vice Counsel, Australian Consulate, Guangzhou, China.

The only problem here is that neither Mr. Lindemayer nor the Australian Consulate subscribes.

I made a quick check of our email addresses for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra.  The six emails that I had for the department in Canberra look much like a virtual map of the Australian foreign service.

A quick Google search of the individual subscribers show that half were legitimate; three others were “free riders” scattered from China – including two at the Guangzhou Consulate – to Argentina.

Jim Berger