USTR Releases 2024 Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement

April 25, 2024

WASHINGTON – The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today released its 2024 Special 301 Report on the adequacy and effectiveness of U.S. trading partners’ protection and enforcement of intellectual property (IP) rights.
“Many of the issues highlighted in the Special 301 Report demand collaborative efforts from our allies and partners,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai.  “Many of my counterparts share the goal of making sure that trade supports the interests of our people, and one of the most dangerous types of IP violations involves counterfeit goods that pose health and safety risks. In addition, the Biden-Harris Administration has continued its policy of declining to call out countries for exercising TRIPS flexibilities, including with respect to compulsory licenses, in a manner consistent with TRIPS obligations.”
This annual report details USTR’s findings in a review of more than 100 trading partners after significant research and enhanced engagement with stakeholders.  Key elements of the 2024 Special 301 Report include:

  • The report highlights progress made by our trading partners to resolve and address IP issues of concern to the United States:
    • USTR removed the Dominican Republic from the Watch List this year for significant progress on addressing concerns with IP enforcement and transparency.  Dominican Republic agencies increased enforcement actions and interagency cooperation on combating signal piracy, improved resource allocation for agencies, made publicly available enforcement-related statistics, increased the number of specialized IP prosecutors, increased enforcement actions against counterfeit medicines, and worked with various U.S. agencies to receive training and technical assistance.  The Dominican Republic has committed to continue taking enforcement actions to combat copyright infringement, including signal piracy, and to increase capacity through training and engagement with the United States.
    • USTR also removed Uzbekistan from the Watch List this year due to sustained progress on long-standing issues pertaining to IP protection and enforcement.  For example, Uzbekistan enacted new Customs Code amendments that introduce ex officio authority to suspend and seize counterfeit imports and exports.  Uzbekistan also continues to give high-level political attention to IP, including support for and participation in the Intellectual Property Working Group under the United States-Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.
  • The Special 301 review of Ukraine continues to be suspended due to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
  • USTR placed seven countries on the Priority Watch List, indicating that serious problems exist in that country with respect to IP protection, enforcement, or market access for U.S. persons relying on IP:
    • For example, there remain many serious concerns regarding IP protection and enforcement in the People's Republic of China (PRC).  In 2023, the pace of reforms in the PRC remained slow.  Stakeholders continue to raise concerns about implementation of the amended Patent LawCopyright Law, and Criminal Law, as well as about long-standing issues like technology transfer, trade secrets, bad faith trademarks, counterfeiting, online piracy, and geographical indications.  Also, statements by Chinese officials that tie IP rights to Chinese market dominance still raise strong concerns.  The United States continues to monitor closely the PRC’s progress in implementing its commitments under the United States-China Economic and Trade Agreement (Phase One Agreement).
    • In addition, while there has been progress under the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum in addressing certain issues with trademark infringement investigations and pre-grant opposition proceedings, numerous long-standing concerns remain.  These include inadequate IP enforcement, including high rates of online piracy, an extensive trademark opposition backlog, and insufficient legal means to protect trade secrets.  Among other things, India still needs to fully implement the WIPO Internet Treaties and to ensure that copyright statutory licenses do not extend to interactive transmissions.
  • The report also details concerns and developments in 20 countries that USTR placed on the Watch List:
    • For example, the report explains concerns regarding IP protection and, in particular, enforcement in Vietnam.  Vietnam has increasingly become a leading source of online piracy and currently hosts some of the most popular piracy sites and services in the world that target a global audience.  Despite having criminal laws for copyright and trademark infringement, Vietnam has almost no criminal investigations or prosecutions.
    • Also, Mexico needs to fully implement the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), including the obligations regarding IP with transition periods that end in 2024 and 2025.  The report also details concerns regarding the high prevalence of online piracy and counterfeit goods.
  • Cross-cutting issues highlighted in the report include:
    • This Administration recognizes that counterfeit products, including counterfeit medicines, can pose harms to the citizens of the trading partners where those counterfeit products are consumed.  In that regard, appropriate enforcement can also serve the interests of foreign governments.  The Report calls for adequate and effective enforcement against trademark counterfeiting, which plays a key role in reducing the potential health and safety risks due to counterfeit products.
    • On IP and public health, the United States continues to respect its trading partners’ rights to grant compulsory licenses in a manner consistent with the provisions of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) and the Doha Declaration.  The United States also recognizes that the TRIPS Agreement provides for additional flexibilities in public health emergencies and other circumstances of extreme urgency within a Member’s territory. 
    • The Report continues to highlight ongoing concerns related to online piracy and broadcast piracy.  Examples include concerns related to stream-ripping, illicit streaming devices and related piracy apps, cable providers distributing pirated content, and illicit Internet Protocol television (IPTV) services.  Stakeholders from both unions and companies in the creative sectors have underscored the importance of copyright protection and enforcement to their livelihoods and businesses.
    • Concerns with the European Union’s aggressive promotion of its exclusionary geographical indications (GI) policies persist.  The United States continues its intensive engagement in promoting and protecting access to foreign markets for U.S. exporters of products that are identified by common names or otherwise marketed under previously registered trademarks.  The United States remains concerned about the proposed expansion of the EU GI system beyond agricultural products and foodstuffs to encompass non-agricultural products, including apparel, ceramics, glass, handicrafts, manufactured goods, minerals, salts, stones, and textiles. 
    • USTR also continues to engage trading partners to address concerns on IP protection and enforcement, including through bilateral engagement under Trade and Investment Frameworks (TIFAs) and through other mechanisms.  Examples include engagements with Armenia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Paraguay, Peru, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

The “Special 301” Report is an annual review of the global state of IP protection and enforcement.  USTR conducts this review pursuant to Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended by the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 and the Uruguay Round Agreements Act.
USTR reviewed more than 100 trading partners for this year’s Special 301 Report, and placed 27 of them on the Priority Watch List or Watch List.  The Special 301 review of Ukraine has been suspended due to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
In this year’s Report, trading partners on the Priority Watch List present the most significant concerns this year regarding insufficient IP protection or enforcement or actions that otherwise limited market access for persons relying on intellectual property protection.  Seven countries are on the Priority Watch List: Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, and Venezuela.  These countries will be the subject of particularly intense bilateral engagement during the coming year.
Twenty trading partners are on the Watch List, and merit bilateral attention to address underlying IP problems: Algeria, Barbados, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Mexico, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Türkiye, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.
USTR continued its enhanced approach to public engagement activities in this year’s Special 301 process.  USTR requested written submissions from the public through a notice published in the Federal Register on December 6, 2023 (Federal Register notice).  In addition, on February 21, 2024, USTR conducted a public hearing that provided the opportunity for interested persons to testify before the interagency Special 301 Subcommittee of the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) about issues relevant to the review.  The hearing featured testimony from witnesses, including representatives of foreign governments, industry, and non-governmental organizations.
The Federal Register notice drew submissions from 45 non-government stakeholders and 16 foreign governments.  The submissions filed in response to the Federal Register notice are available to the public online at, docket number USTR-2023-0014. 

To read the Special 301 Report, click here