WASHINGTON - U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick today announced the results of USTR's Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Out-of-Cycle Reviews (OCRs) of Poland and Taiwan. As a result of the findings, Poland will remain on the Watch List, and Taiwan will be moved from the Priority Watch List to the Watch List due to the progress it has achieved.
"We are encouraged by the progress made by Poland and Taiwan in taking steps to address long-standing concerns over piracy and counterfeiting of U.S. intellectual property and products," said Zoellick. "However, a common thread in both reviews is the recognition of the need for stronger and sustained enforcement measures, including the necessity to protect data submitted by innovative pharmaceutical and agricultural chemical producers to obtain marketing approval. Protection and enforcement of intellectual property are critical to the continued growth of our economy, and we will vigorously press our trading partners to follow and enforce the rules to protect American creativity, innovation and technology."
The 2004 Special 301 Report, released in May, highlighted a series of continued concerns regarding the lack of adequate protection and enforcement of intellectual property in Poland and Taiwan. The Report placed Poland on the Watch List and kept Taiwan on the Priority Watch List pending Out-of-Cycle Reviews to be conducted in fall 2004.
In the 2004 Special 301 report, USTR indicated that, during the OCR, it would examine whether Poland strengthened anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting measures at the Warsaw Stadium and continued effective raids and prosecutions against piracy and counterfeiting activities across the country; strengthened the protection of test data submitted by innovative pharmaceutical companies; took substantive steps to implement a coordination mechanism between the Health Ministry and the patent agency; strengthened border enforcement; signed into law and implemented new copyright amendments and optical disc regulations; and took concrete, effective steps to strengthen domestic enforcement of IPR.
While Poland has made progress in many of these areas, problems remain with respect to the protection of test data and coordination between the Health Ministry and the patent agency, as well as with the need to further strengthen domestic and border enforcement against piracy.
As a result of these deficiencies, Poland will remain on the Watch List. The United States will continue to work with Poland in addressing these remaining concerns and to maintain and strengthen its enforcement measures.
In the 2004 Special 301 report, USTR indicated that, during the OCR, it would examine whether Taiwan passed amendments to copyright legislation to address several deficiencies; improved enforcement; and made the necessary changes to its relevant laws to prevent unfair commercial use of pharmaceutical and agricultural chemical test data. Although Taiwan has not yet adopted an effective data protection regime, Taiwan has made significant progress in the remaining areas, particularly in strengthening enforcement and copyright protection. As a result, Taiwan has been moved from the Priority Watch List to
the Watch List.
The United States will, however, continue to work with Taiwan's officials on remaining concerns, including the Taiwan authorities' commitment to gain approval of legislation to prevent unfair commercial use of pharmaceutical test data, effective actions against piracy of copyrighted works over the internet, and continued strengthening of enforcement efforts so that piracy and counterfeiting are effectively reduced. In addition, the United States will follow closely Taiwan's efforts to monitor exports of copyrighted materials, particularly software, to ensure that these efforts are as or more effective
than Taiwan's Export Monitoring System.
The Trade Act of 1974 instructed the Office of the US Trade Representative to identify annually 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 are placed into a hierarchy of categories, with the ranking of Priority Foreign Country reserved for the worst situations: (1) Priority Foreign Country; (2) Section 306 monitoring; (3) Priority Watch List; or (4) Watch List. In the most serious cases, countries identified as Priority Foreign Countries can be subjected to a Section 301
investigation and face the possible threat of trade sanctions. These are countries that fail to enter into good faith negotiations or make significant progress in bilateral or multilateral negotiations to provide adequate and effective protection of IPR. Currently, one country (Ukraine) is designated to be in this category and remains subject to $75 million in sanctions.
Countries that were previously designated a Priority Foreign Country but entered into good-faith negotiations and/or are making progress are placed under Section 306 monitoring; currently the People's Republic of China and Paraguay fall into this category. USTR has also 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. The Special 301 review occurs annually each April, but out-of-cycle reviews may be conducted at any time to evaluate changes and developments in particular countries. In the 2004 Special 301 Report, released on May 3, 15 trading partners, including Taiwan, were placed on the Priority Watch List and 34 trading partners, including Poland, were placed on the Watch List.