USTR Releases 2011 Special 301 Report


This week, USTR released it annual Special 301 Report, reviewing trading partners’ protection of intellectual property rights. Not much has changed since last year’s Special 301. The report places 28 countries on the Watch List and 12 countries on the Priority Watch List including: China, Russia, Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, Thailand and Venezuela. However, this year, USTR has invited countries to work with them to develop action plans to address IP concerns. Whether or not there will be repercussions (and in what form) if a country doesn’t follow through on promises to better their IP protection remains to be seen.
Highlighting areas of concern for intellectual property protection comes at an important time in U.S. trade relations, as the U.S. continues negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Of the 9 countries currently part of the TPP negotiations, 5 have been placed on the Watch List or the Priority Watch List. As trade negotiators move forward, a high standard for protection should be included in the intellectual property chapter.
Intellectual property rights can boost trade and foreign investment dramatically, but first, global piracy and counterfeiting must be stopped or significantly reduced for the economies of developed and developing nations to thrive.
Click here to read the entire report.