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USTR Launches Review of IPR Issues in El Salvador

Friday, November 22, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has initiated a review to determine whether El Salvador should be identified under the so-called Special 301 provisions concerning the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. El Salvador was not included on any of the watch lists in USTR’s most recent Special 301 report, but the agency said it would conduct an out-of-cycle review to assess progress on El Salvador’s implementation of new legislation on pharmaceuticals. Comments on any act, policy or practice relevant to this review are due no later than 10:00 a.m. on Dec. 13 for the general public and 10:00 a.m. on Dec. 20 for foreign governments.

USTR is required to 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 PFC are normally the subject of an investigation under the Section 301 provisions of the Trade Act. USTR may not identify a country as a PFC 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.

In addition, USTR has created a priority watch list and a watch list under the Special 301 provisions. The placement of a trading partner on one of these lists 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 PWL are the focus of increased bilateral attention concerning the problem areas.

USTR requests that, where relevant, submissions mention particular areas of El Salvador in which an act, policy or practice deserves special attention. Submissions may report positive or negative developments. For the latter, comments should include as detailed a description as possible of the problems experienced and their effect on U.S. industry. Any comments that include quantitative loss claims should be accompanied by the methodology used in calculating the estimated losses.

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