Washington - In recognition of the efforts that the Ukrainian Government has made to improve its legislative framework to protect intellectual property rights, U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman today announced the lifting of 100% tariff sanctions that since 2002 had been imposed on $75 million worth of Ukrainian exports to the United States. In July 2005, the Ukrainian parliament (Rada) adopted an important set of amendments to Ukraine’s Laser-Readable Disk Law. These amendments, which went into force on August 2, will strengthen Ukraine’s licensing regime and enforcement efforts to stem the illegal production and trade of CDs and DVDs.
"I commend Ukrainian President Yushchenko and Prime Minister Tymoshenko for their personal involvement in securing passage of these amendments, which is expected to improve Ukraine’s protection of intellectual property rights," said U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman. "This recent legislative action by Ukraine is a key step in the right direction. We expect that Ukraine will use the tools created by these amendments to crack down on illegal pirating of protected works."
As a further step, the Administration is conducting a Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review (OCR) to focus on Ukraine’s IPR enforcement and consider Ukraine’s status as a Priority Foreign Country and its eligibility for Generalized System of Preferences benefits.
In March 2001, the U.S. Trade Representative designated Ukraine as a Priority Foreign Country in the Special 301 process, and initiated a Section 301 investigation. At that time, Ukraine was the largest producer and exporter of pirated optical media in Europe. In August 2001, the USTR took initial action under Section 301 by suspending Ukraine’s benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences. In January 2002, the USTR took further action under Section 301 by imposing 100% tariff sanctions on $75 million worth of Ukrainian exports. After extensive efforts of the Ukrainian Government to advance these important amendments to Ukraine’s Laser-Readable Disk Law, the Ukrainian Rada approved them on July 6, 2005 and they became law on August 2, 2005.