USTR Releases Intellectual Property Report
Ukraine heads the list of 50 countries chastised for failure to protect optical media products
WASHINGTON, DC - The annual US review of global intellectual property rights (IPR) protection slams Ukraine for its "persistent failure" to protect "optical media" products such as CDs, DVDs, and CD-ROMs, according to the Office of the US Trade Representative.
The review - published by the Office of the US Trade Representative and also known as the "Special 301" Report on Global Intellectual Property Protection - also indicated that Armenia, Greece, New Zealand and Qatar had shown "sufficient improvement" over the past year to qualify for removal from the "watch list" for IPR violations.
Mandated by the US Trade Act of 1988, the latest report cited 50 nations for IPR-related problems, but Ukraine was the only one designated a "priority foreign country." The report said that $75 million in sanctions imposed on Ukraine in 2002 would remain in place, and warned that the country's "continued failure to protect intellectual property rights could jeopardize its efforts to join the World Trade Organization (WTO)."
The USTR placed 36 trading partners on its "Watch List" for IPR violations: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovak Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and Vietnam.
Another 11 trading partners - including the 15 members of the European Union (EU) - were placed on the priority watch list, which entails a greater level of scrutiny. The other countries are Argentina, the Bahamas, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, and Taiwan.
New to the priority list in 2003 are the Bahamas and Poland. Six countries - Uruguay, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Hungary and Israel - were moved from the priority list to the watch list.
In addition, USTR reported that China and Paraguay are subject to another part of the statute, Section 306 monitoring, because of previous agreements reached with the US to address specific problems raised in earlier reports.
The report announces no new World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement proceedings on IPR issues, but says the US will consider "all options," including initiation of dispute settlement consultations, with countries that do not appear to have implemented their obligations under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement).
The USTR also said that implementation of the TRIPS has helped to improve IPR protection worldwide citing Egypt's adoption of a comprehensive intellectual property rights law, noted that Colombia and Hungary are now protecting confidential medical test data, and lauded Israel and several other countries for "making necessary investments in education, police, and judicial resources to improve IPR enforcement."
The entire report and watch lists for 2003 are available on the USTR web site at: http://www.ustr.gov/reports/2003/special301.htm
back, or read the latest Front Page stories:
US Seeks Stronger Ties With Brazil
WASHINGTON, DC – 06/13/06 – Rebounding from the failure to craft a Free Trade Area of the Americas pact, the Bush Administration is aiming at strengthening trade ties with Brazil in an effort to counter China’s fast-growing economic influence in Latin America; China should not only be seen as an export market with 1.3 billion consumers, but also as a nation of 1.3 billion ''new competitors,'' says US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Guittierez.
US Threatens WTO Action Against China
WASHINGTON, DC – 06/10/06 – The White House is threatening to slap China with a World Trade Organization case unless Beijing responds quickly to US concerns over its lack of action on securing intellectual property rights for US products; talks on bringing the WTO case are at a ''very advanced stage,'' according to a high level official in the Office of the US trade Representative.
High Hopes for Central American Trade Pact
WASHINGTON, DC – 06/08/06 – The US -Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) still faces some hurdles, but could become a reality ''very soon,'' according to Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick; the issues relating to government procurement, intellectual property rights and agriculture still need to be worked through, says the former US Trade Representative following a session of the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.