Background

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has initiated its annual review of foreign countries’ acts, policies, and practices concerning the protection of intellectual property rights. After gathering and considering public comments USTR will issue a report on or about April 29, 2022.

Section 182 of the 1974 Trade Act, also known as Special 301, requires USTR to identify countries that deny adequate and effective IPR protection or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. persons who rely on IPR protection. Those countries that have the most onerous or egregious acts, policies, or practices that 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 can be subject to a Section 301 investigation.

USTR has also created a priority watch list and a watch list to assist policymakers in pursuing the goals of the Special 301 provisions. The placement of a trading partner on the PWL or WL indicates that particular problems exist in that country with respect to IPR protection, enforcement, or market access for persons relying on IPR protection. Trading partners placed on the PWL are the focus of increased bilateral attention concerning the problem areas.

Again this year USTR will not hold a hearing in connection with this review. Instead, it will accept written comments by Jan. 31 from the public and Feb. 14 from foreign governments. USTR will then be able to pose questions on written comments no later than Feb. 23 and responses to those questions will be due by March 8.

For more information on pursuing or mitigating IPR-related import restrictions, please contact Lee Sandler at (305) 894-1000.

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