USTR Section 301 Report Identifies 12 Countries for Priority Watch List on IP Enforcement

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The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Friday released a special Section 301 report in which it called out and identified certain trading partners who are falling afoul of intellectual property rights rules.

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The USTR puts out the annual Special Section 301 review pursuant to Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974.

“The ideas and creativity of American entrepreneurs fuel economic growth and employ millions of hardworking Americans,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a USTR release. “This report sends a clear signal to our trading partners that the protection of Americans’ intellectual property rights is a top priority of the Trump Administration.”

The report identified a total of 36 countries for its Priority Watch List or Watch List (the former being more serious). Meanwhile, 12 countries made the Priority Watch List, those being: Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Ukraine and Venezuela.

China’s inclusion on the Priority Watch List marked its 14th consecutive appearance on the list.

“Longstanding and new IP concerns merit increased attention, including China’s coercive technology transfer practices, range of impediments to effective IP enforcement, and widespread infringing activity—including trade secret theft, rampant online piracy, and counterfeit manufacturing,” the report states.

The 24 countries on the Watch List were: Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, Guatemala, Jamaica, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

The USTR launched a Section 301 probe last August specifically focusing on Chinese trade practices. In March, the Trump administration proposed a possible $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, sparking an exchange of tariffs threats between the two countries.

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Earlier this month, the USTR published a list of 1,300 Chinese products that could be subject to tariffs.

The full Special Section 301 report can be found here.

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