WASHINGTON–The United States on Thursday kept China and India on its Priority Watch List of trading partners that fail to protect intellectual property rights (IPR), hurting the economy.
In its annual Special 301 Report, the Commerce Department’s US Trade Representative said there were now 13 trading partners on its Priority Watch List, three more than its previous report. Ecuador and Ukraine were newcomers, and Kuwait was added late last year.
Ecuador made the Priority Watch List because of its repeal last year of its criminal IPR provisions. “The current lack of criminal procedures and penalties invites transnational organised crime groups that engage in copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting to view Ecuador as a safe haven,” the USTR report said.
Ukraine’s government had not resolved problems identified two years ago by the US that include widespread use of illegal software by Ukrainian government agencies and the failure to adopt effective means to combat online copyright infringement, it said.
While welcoming promising efforts by the Ukrainian authorities, the USTR said it was looking forward to seeing “tangible and lasting improvement, both in legislative reform and in practice”.
Kuwait was moved to the Priority Watch List in November after failing “to introduce legislation resulting in a copyright law consistent with international standards, and resume effective enforcement against copyright and trademark infringement”.
The other countries on the Priority Watch List were Argentina, Algeria, Chile, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand and Venezuela. China, the second-largest US trading partner, remained on the list despite certain improvements, including an intellectual property law reform effort, the report said.
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