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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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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” provision of the Trade Act.) In addition, USTR is required to determine which of those 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 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 to identify particular trading partners under Section 182 of the Trade Act.

DATES:

Submissions must be received on or before 5 p.m. on Friday, February 11, 2005.

ADDRESSES:

Comments should be addressed to Sybia Harrison, Special Assistant to the Section 301 Committee, and sent (i) electronically, to FR0436@ustr.eop.gov, with “Special 301 Review” in the subject line, or (ii) by fax, to (202) 395-9458, with a confirmation copy sent electronically to the e-mail address above.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jennifer Choe, Director for Intellectual Property (202) 395-6864, Brian Peck, Senior Director for Intellectual Property (202) 395-6864, or Stanford McCoy, Assistant General Counsel (202) 395-3581, Office of the United States Trade Representative. In the event that none of the above are available, questions should then be directed to Victoria Espinel, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Intellectual Property, at (202) 395-6864.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Pursuant to Section 182 of the Trade Act, 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, states, or other subdivisions of a country in which an act, policy, or practice deserves special attention in this year's report. Such mention may be positive or negative, so long as it deviates from the general norm in that country. In addition, USTR is considering issuance of a further notice requesting information concerning individual businesses that have been found to have infringed intellectual property rights.

Section 182 contains a special rule regarding actions of Canada affecting United States cultural industries. The USTR must 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 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, 2005.

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. 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 is 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.

All comments should be addressed to Sybia Harrison, Special Assistant to the Section 301 Committee, and sent (i) electronically, to FR0436@ustr.eop.gov, with “Special 301 Review” in the subject line, or (ii) by fax, to (202) 395-9458, with a confirmation copy sent electronically to the email address above.

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 Jacqueline Caldwell at (202) 395-6186. The USTR reading room is open to the public from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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Victoria Espinel,

Acting Assistant, U.S. Trade Representative for Services, Investment, and Intellectual Property.

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[FR Doc. 04-28705 Filed 12-30-04; 8:45 am]

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