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Notice

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 of the Trade Act.) The USTR is required to determine which of these countries should be identified as Priority Foreign Countries. Acts, policies, or practices that 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 also contains a special rule for the identification of actions by Canada affecting U.S. 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 12:00 noon on Friday, February 13, 2004.

ADDRESSES:

Comments should be sent to Mark Wu, Director for Intellectual Property, and/or Sybia Harrison, Special Assistant to the Section 301 Committee, at the following e-mail address: FR0408@ustr.gov, with “Special 301 Review: [Country Name]” in the subject line. Only electronic submissions will be accepted.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mark Wu, Director for Intellectual Property, (202) 395-6864; Victoria Espinel or Daniel Mullaney, Assistant General Counsels, (202) 395-7305, Office of the United States Trade Representative. In the event that none of the above are available, questions should be directed to Claude Burcky, Deputy Assistant USTR for Intellectual Property, Office of the United States Trade Representative, (202) 395-6864.

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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 it is entering into good faith negotiations, or making significant progress in bilateral or multilateral negotiations, to provide adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights.

USTR requests that, where relevant, submissions mention particular regions, provinces, or states of a country whose act, policy, or practice deserve special highlighting in this year's report. Such mention may be positive or negative, so long as it deviates from the general norm in that country.

Section 182 contains a special rule regarding actions of Canada affecting U.S. cultural industries. The USTR is obligated to identify any act, policy, or practice of Canada that 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 that 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 than April 30, 2004.

Requirements for comments: Comments should include a description of the problems experienced and the effect of the acts, policies, or 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, or practices. Any comments that include quantitative loss claims should be accompanied by the methodology used in calculating such estimated losses. Start Printed Page 719

Comments must be in English and may only be submitted electronically. No submissions will be accepted via postal service mail. Documents should be submitted as either WordPerfect, MS Word, or text (.TXT) files. Supporting documentation submitted as spreadsheets are acceptable as Quattro Pro or Excel files. A submitter requesting that information contained in a comment be treated as confidential business information must certify that such information is business confidential and would not customarily be released to the public by the submitter. A non-confidential version of the comment must also be provided. For any document containing business confidential information, the file name of the business confidential version should begin with the characters “BC-”, and the file name of the public version should begin with the character “P-”. The “P” or “BC” should be followed by the name of the submitter. Submissions should not include separate cover letters; information that might appear in a cover letter should be included in the submission itself. To the extent possible, any attachments to the submission should be included in the same file as the submission itself, and not as separate files.

Comments should be sent to Mark Wu, Director for Intellectual Property, and Sybia Harrison, Special Assistant to the Section 301 Committee, at the following e-mail address: FR0408@ustr.gov, with “Special 301 Review: [Country Name]” in the subject line. Only electronic submissions will be accepted.

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 must be scheduled at least 48 hours in advance and may be made by calling (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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Amber Cottle,

Acting Assistant United States Trade Representative for Services, Investment, and Intellectual Property.

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[FR Doc. 04-213 Filed 1-5-04; 8:45 am]

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