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Notice

Identification of Countries That Deny Adequate Protection, or Market Access, for Intellectual Property Rights Under Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974

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AGENCY:

Office of the United States Trade Representative.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

Notice is hereby given that the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has submitted its annual report on the identification of those foreign countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights or deny fair and equitable market access to United States persons that rely upon intellectual property protection, and those foreign countries determined to be priority foreign countries, to the Committee on Finance of the United States Senate and the Committee on Ways and Means of the United States House of Representatives, pursuant to section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (the Trade Act) (19 U.S.C. 2242).

DATES:

This report was submitted on April 28, 2006 and is available on USTR's Web site at http://www.ustr.gov.

ADDRESSES:

Office of the United States Trade Representative, 600 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20508.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jennifer Choe Groves, Director for Intellectual Property and Chair of the Special 301 Committee at (202) 395-4510.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Pursuant to Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended by the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 and the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (enacted in 1994), under Special 301 provisions, USTR must identify those countries that deny adequate and effective protection for IPR or deny fair and equitable market access for persons that rely on intellectual property protection. 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 the relevant U.S. products must be designated as “Priority Foreign Countries.”

Priority Foreign Countries are potentially subject to an investigation under the section 301 provisions of the Trade Act of 1974. USTR may not designate 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 IPR.

USTR must decide whether to identify countries within 30 days after issuance of the annual National Trade Estimate Report. In addition, USTR may identify a trading partner as a Priority Foreign Country or remove such identification whenever warranted.

USTR has created a “Priority Watch List” and “Watch List” under Special 301 provisions. Placement of a trading partner on the Priority Watch List or Watch List indicates that particular problems exist in that country with respect to IPR protection, enforcement, or market access for persons relying on intellectual property. Countries placed on the Priority Watch List are the focus of increased bilateral attention concerning the problem areas.

Additionally, under section 306, USTR monitors a country's compliance with bilateral intellectual property agreements that are the basis for resolving an investigation under Section 301. USTR may apply sanctions if a country fails to satisfactorily implement an agreement.

The interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee that advises USTR on the implementation of Special 301 obtains information from and holds consultations with the private sector, U.S. embassies, the United States' trading partners, the U.S. Congress, and the National Trade Estimate Report, among other sources.

The Special 301 Report is available on USTR's Web site at http://www.ustr.gov.

On April 28, 2006, USTR identified 48 trading partners that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property or deny fair and equitable market access to United States persons that rely upon intellectual property protection.

USTR announced that China and Russia remain significant concerns. China is a top IPR enforcement priority; USTR will maintain heightened scrutiny of China, will step up consideration of its WTO dispute settlement options, and will scrutinize IPR protection and enforcement at China's provincial level by conducting a special provincial review in the coming year. The China section of the report recognizes China's efforts to address IPR problems but concludes that IPR infringements throughout China remain at unacceptable levels.

The Russia section of the report notes that although Russia has taken some steps to curb pirate production of optical discs in factories, particularly those located on government-owned property, high levels of IPR infringement remain, particularly infringements connected with Russia-based optical disc plants and Web sites.

USTR again designated Paraguay for section 306 monitoring to ensure its compliance with the commitments made to the United States under bilateral intellectual property agreements.

USTR also announced the placement of 13 trading partners on the Priority Watch List: China, Russia, Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, Ukraine, and Venezuela. In addition, USTR placed 34 trading partners on the Watch List: Bahamas, Belarus, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, European Union, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Jamaica, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

USTR will conduct out-of-cycle reviews of Canada, Chile, Indonesia, Latvia, and Saudi Arabia.

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Victoria Espinel,

Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Intellectual Property.

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[FR Doc. E6-6926 Filed 5-5-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3190-W6-P