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IACC Supports USTR 2007 Special 301 Decisions
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Washington, D.C. -- The International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) applauds the overall results of the United States Trade Representative's (USTR) 2007 Special 301 Report, which recognizes the vital importance of intellectual property to both the US and global economies, and the need for greater efforts to protect and enforce those rights.
The "Special 301" provisions of the Trade Act of 1974, require the United States Trade Representative to identify, on an annual basis, foreign countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) or fair and equitable market access for U.S. entities that rely on intellectual property protection.
USTR Names 12 Countries to Priority Watch List
China and Russia remained the countries of greatest concern in USTR's 2007 report, with both remaining on USTR's Priority Watch List (PWL). They were joined on the PWL by ten other countries: Argentina, Chile, Egypt, India, Israel, Lebanon, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Venezuela.
China, included on the PWL last year, has been under greatly increased scrutiny during the past twelve months, as the subject of a Special Provincial Review by USTR, which was released concurrently with the Special 301 Report. The United States also recently requested WTO dispute settlement consultations with China arising from numerous issues related to IPR protection and enforcement. In addition, China will remain subject to Section 306 monitoring of its compliance with existing bilateral agreements it has entered into with the United States.
While acknowledging improvement in some areas, USTR has again placed Russia on the PWL due to "large scale production and distribution of IP-infringing" goods, poor enforcement of rights, weak border protection, and concerns over the compliance of its legal regime with international norms. The IACC is hopeful that the Russian government will adhere to the commitments made in the November 2006 Bilateral Market Access Agreement on Intellectual Property Rights, and take all necessary steps to comply with international standards on IPR protection and enforcement. USTR announced that it will conduct an Out-of-Cycle Review (OCR) to monitor the Russian government's progress on these matters; a similar review will determine Russia's continued eligibility for trade preference programs under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). Brazil and the Czech Republic, both of which were included in the IACC's recommendations to USTR, will also be subject to Out-of-Cycle Reviews during the coming year.
Canada Remains a Concern to the IACC
Canada, another major focus of the IACC's recommendations to USTR, was included in the report as a Watch List country (WL). While the IACC had hoped for a higher priority placement for Canada, we are encouraged that USTR continues to recognize the need for our neighbor to the north to improve its enforcement mechanisms, and to ratify and implement legislation to bring Canadian law into alignment with international standards.
IACC's 301 Recommendations
The IACC's recommendations to the USTR this year focused on fourteen countries in which a lack of effective and deterrent enforcement measures to protect intellectual property rights have been problematic. USTR classifies such countries as Priority Foreign Countries (PFC), Priority Watch List Countries (PWL), or Watch List Countries (WL). The Priority Foreign Country designation identifies the most serious offenders, followed by the Priority Watch List and Watch List countries. All but one of the countries recommended by the IACC for inclusion in this year's report were named by USTR in the following categories: Belize (WL), Brazil (WL/OCR), Canada (WL), China (PWL), Costa Rica (WL), Czech Republic (OCR), Malaysia (WL), Mexico (WL), Paraguay (306), Peru(WL), Philippines (WL), Russia (PWL/OCR), and Vietnam (WL).
About the IACC
The International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) is the largest organization devoted solely to combating product counterfeiting and piracy. Comprised of a cross section of business and industry - from autos, apparel, luxury goods and pharmaceuticals to food, software and entertainment - the IACC's members' combined annual revenues exceed $650 billion. The IACC develops and conducts training for domestic and foreign law enforcement officials, submits comments on intellectual property enforcement laws and regulations in the United States and abroad and participates in regional and international programs aimed at improving intellectual property enforcement standards. For more details about IACC, visit www.IACC.org.
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