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Identification of Countries Under Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974: Request for Public Comment

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Office of the United States Trade Representative.

ACTION:

Request for written submissions from the public.

SUMMARY:

Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974 (Trade Act) (19 U.S.C. 2242), requires the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to identify countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. persons who rely on intellectual property protection. (Section 182 is commonly referred to as the “Special 301” provisions in the trade act.) In addition, the USTR is required to determine which of these countries should be identified as Priority Foreign Countries. Acts, policies or practices which are the basis of a country's identification as a priority foreign country are normally the subject of an investigation under the Section 301 provisions of the trade act. Section 182 of the Trade Act contains a special rule for the identification of actions by Canada affecting United States cultural industries.

USTR requests written submissions from the public concerning foreign countries' acts, policies, and practices that are relevant to the decision whether particular trading partners should be identified under Section 182 of the Trade Act.

DATES:

Submissions must be received on or before 12 noon on Friday, February 15, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

1724 F. Street, N.W., Room 1, Washington, DC 20508.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Claude Burcky, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Intellectual Property (202) 395-6864; Kira Alvarez, Director for Intellectual Property (202) 395-6864; Stephen Kho or Victoria Espinel, Assistant General Counsels (202) 395-7305, Officer of the United States Trade Representative.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Pursuant to Section 182 of the Trade Act, the USTR must identify those countries that deny adequate and effective protection for intellectual property rights or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. persons who rely on intellectual property protection. Those countries that have the most onerous or egregious acts, policies, or practices and whose acts, policies or practices have the greatest adverse impact (actual or potential) on relevant U.S. products are to be identified as Priority Foreign Countries. Acts, policies or practices that are the basis of a country's designation as a Priority Foreign country are normally the subject of an investigation under the section 301 provisions of the Trade Act.

USTR may not identify a country as a Priority Foreign Country if its entering into good faith negotiations, or making significant progress in bilateral or multilateral negotiations, to provide adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights.Start Printed Page 66493

In identifying countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights in 2001, USTR will continue to pay special attention to other countries' efforts reduce piracy of optical media (music CDs, video CDs, CD-ROMs, and DVDs) and prevent unauthorized government use of computer software. USTR will also focus on countries' compliance with their TRIPS obligations, which came due on January 1, 2000.

Section 182 contains a special rule regarding actions of Canada affecting United States cultural industries. The USTR is obligated to identify any act, policy or practice of Canada which affects cultural industries, is adopted or expanded after December 17, 1992, and is actionable under Article 2106 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Any such act, policy or practice so identified shall be treated the same as an act, policy or practice which was the basis for a country's identification as a Priority Foreign Country under Section 182(a)(2) of the trade Act, unless the United States has already taken action pursuant to Article 2106 of the NAFTA.

USTR must make the above-referenced identifications within 30 days after publication of the National Trade Estimate (NTE) report, i.e., no later that April 30, 2002.

Requirements for Comments

Comments should include a description of the problems experienced and the effect of the acts, policies and practices on U.S. industry. Comments should be as detailed as possible and should provide all necessary information for assessing the effect of the acts, policies and practices. Any comments that include quantitative loss claims should be accompanied by the methodology used in calculating such estimated losses. Comments must be in english and provided in twenty copies. A submitter requesting that information contained in a comment be treated as confidential and would not customarily be released to the public by the submitter. Confidential business information must be clearly marked “business confidential” in a contrasting color ink at the top of each page of each copy. A non-confidential version of the comment must also be provided.

All comments should be sent to Brenda Webb, special Assistant to the Section 301 committee, 1724 F Street, NW., Room 1, Washington, DC 20508, and must be received no later than 12 noon on Friday, February 15, 2002.

Public Inspection of Submissions

Within one business day of receipt, non-confidential submissions will be placed in a public file, open for inspection at the USTR reading room, Office of the United States Trade Representative, Annex Building, 1724 F Street, NW, room 1, Washington, DC. An appointment to review the file may be made by calling Brenda Webb, (202) 395-6186. The USTR reading room is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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Joseph Papovich,

Assistant USTR for Services, Investment and Intellectual Property.

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[FR Doc. 01-31605 Filed 12-21-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3190-01-M