On April 27th, The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today released their 2018 Special 301 report listing trading partners that do not “adequately or effectively protect and enforce intellectual property (IP) rights or otherwise deny market access to U.S. innovators and creators that rely on protection of their IP rights”.
The Report singles out several US trading partners to address IP-related issues and places certain countries on a “Watch List” and “Priority Watch List”.
As you may be aware, Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974 authorizes the President to take all appropriate action, including retaliation, to obtain the removal of any act, policy, or practice of a foreign government that violates an international trade agreement or is unjustified, unreasonable, or discriminatory, and that burdens or restricts US commerce. Section 301 actions are unique in that they do not require authorization from the World Trade Organization (TWO) to take enforcement action.
The US Government estimates the Intellectual Property industries directly and indirectly support 30% of all employment in the United States (or about 45.5 million American jobs).
Some highlights of the 2018 Special 301 Report include:
1. The following 12 countries are on the “Priority Watch List” – Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Ukraine, and Venezuela.
2. China is included on the “Priority Watch List” for the 14th year in a row and claims China’s technology transfer practices, trade secret theft, counterfeit manufacturing etc.
3. India is also included on the “Priority Watch List” for “longstanding challenges in its IP framework and lack of sufficient measurable improvements, particularly with respect to patents, copyrights, trade secrets, and enforcement, as well as for new issues that have negatively affected U.S. right holders over the past year.”
4. Canada was surprisingly indicated on the “Priority Watch List” instead of their usual “Watch List” status. The USTR cited Customs inability to inspect or detained counterfeit or pirated good shipped through Canada and IP protections for pharmaceuticals among others.
The full Spectial 301 Report can be read here.
If you have any questions about this report, feel free to contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at email@example.com.