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A Cyberlaw Blog by Robin D. Gross


Public Comments Open on USTR Special 301 List

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has requested written submissions from the public "concerning foreign countries’ acts, policies, and practices that are relevant to the decision as to whether particular trading partners should be identified" in its Special 301 List.  The USTR’s Special 301 Lists are used to impose trade sanction on foreign countries that do not adhere to US preferences for intellectual property right protections.  These lists are also used to require foreign countries to enter into bi-lateral trade negotiations with the US that results in a change in the foreign country’s domestic law to comply with US demands.  

Members of the public at large and foreign countries are strongly encouraged to send comments to the USTR.  Let them know it is unfair to require foreign countries to enact more restrictive intellectual property rights that will ultimately hinder their development.  Let them know it is not in the interest of the US public (or the public any where) to continue this mindless ratcheting up of intellectual property rights at the expense of innovation and creativity.  Remind the USTR that they shouldn’t spend public resources on promoting the private interests of the Hollywood movie studios, major record labels or Big Pharma.  

The details for submitting comments are below.  Thank you.


The USTR Federal Register Notice announcing this year’s request for written submissions on the Special 301 List.

DATES:

Submissions from the general public must be received on or before 10 a.m. on Monday, February 11, 2008.

Foreign governments who choose to make written submissions may do so on or before 10 a.m. on
Friday, February 29, 2008.

ADDRESSES: All comments should be addressed to Jennifer Choe Groves, Director for Intellectual Property and Innovation and Chair of the Special 301 Committee, Office of the United States Trade
Representative, and sent (i) electronically, to FR0606@ustr.eop.gov  (please note, “FR0606” consists of the numbers “zero-six-zero-six”)  with “Special 301 Review” in the subject line, or (ii) by fax, to  (202) 395-9458, with a confirmation copy sent electronically to the e- mail address above.

[Federal Register: January 16, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 11)]
[Notices]
[Page 2958-2959]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr16ja08-105]

=======================================================================

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE

Special 301: Identification of Countries Under Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974: Request for Public Comment

AGENCY: Office of the United States Trade Representative.

ACTION: Request for Written Submissions From the Public.

———————————————————————–

SUMMARY: Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974 (Trade Act) (19 U.S.C.
2242) requires the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to
identify countries that deny adequate and effective protection of
intellectual property rights or deny fair and equitable market access
to U.S. persons who rely on intellectual property protection. (Section
182 is commonly referred to as the “Special 301” provisions of the
Trade Act.) In addition, the USTR is required to determine which of
these countries should be identified as Priority Foreign Countries.
Acts, policies, or practices that are the basis of a country’s
identification as a Priority Foreign Country are normally the subject
of an investigation under the section 301 provisions of the Trade Act.
Section 182 of the Trade Act contains a special rule for the
identification of actions by Canada affecting United States cultural
industries.
    USTR requests written submissions from the public concerning
foreign countries’ acts, policies, and practices that are relevant to
the decision whether particular trading partners should be identified
under section 182 of the Trade Act.

DATES: Submissions from the general public must be received on or
before 10 a.m. on Monday, February 11, 2008. Foreign governments who
choose to make written submissions may do so on or before 10 a.m. on
Friday, February 29, 2008.

ADDRESSES: All comments should be addressed to Jennifer Choe Groves,
Director for Intellectual Property and Innovation and Chair of the
Special 301 Committee, Office of the United States Trade
Representative, and sent (i) electronically, to FR0606@ustr.eop.gov
(please note, “FR0606” consists of the numbers “zero-six-zero-six”)
with “Special 301 Review” in the subject line, or (ii) by fax, to
(202) 395-9458, with a confirmation copy sent electronically to the e-
mail address above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Choe Groves, Director for
Intellectual Property and Innovation and Chair of the Special 301
Committee, Office of the United States Trade Representative at (202)
395-4510.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to section 182 of the Trade Act,
USTR must identify those countries that deny adequate and effective
protection for intellectual property rights or deny fair and equitable
market access to U.S. persons who rely on intellectual property
protection. Those countries that have the most onerous or egregious
acts, policies, or practices and whose acts, policies, or practices
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 Priority Foreign Country are normally the subject of an investigation
under the section 301 provisions of the Trade Act.

[[Page 2959]]

    USTR may not identify a country as a Priority Foreign Country if it
is entering into good faith negotiations, or making significant
progress in bilateral or multilateral negotiations, to provide adequate
and effective protection of intellectual property rights.
    USTR requests that, where relevant, submissions mention particular
regions, provinces, states, or other subdivisions of a country in which
an act, policy, or practice deserves special attention in this year’s
report. Such mention may be positive or negative. For example,
submissions may address China’s IPR protection and enforcement at the
provincial level, including, where relevant, with respect to areas that
were the focus of the Special Provincial Review of China conducted in
2007 (2007 Special 301 Report, pp. 42-52).
    Section 182 contains a special rule regarding actions of Canada
affecting United States cultural industries. The USTR must identify any
act, policy, or practice of Canada that affects cultural industries, is
adopted or expanded after December 17, 1992, and is actionable under
Article 2106 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Any
act, policy, or practice so identified shall be treated the same as an
act, policy, or practice which was the basis for a country’s
identification as a Priority Foreign Country under section 182(a)(2) of
the Trade Act, unless the United States has already taken action
pursuant to Article 2106 of the NAFTA.
    USTR must make the above-referenced identifications within 30 days
after publication of the National Trade Estimate (NTE) report, i.e.,
approximately April 30, 2008.
    Requirements for comments: Comments should include a description of
the problems experienced and the effect of the acts, policies, and
practices on U.S. industry. Comments should be as detailed as possible
and should provide all necessary information for assessing the effect
of the acts, policies, and practices. Any comments that include
quantitative loss claims should be accompanied by the methodology used
in calculating such estimated losses.
    Comments must be in English. No submissions will be accepted via
postal service mail. Documents should be submitted as either
WordPerfect, MS Word, .pdf, or text (.TXT) files. Supporting
documentation submitted as spreadsheets are acceptable as Quattro Pro
or Excel files. A submitter requesting that information contained in a
comment be treated as confidential business information must certify
that such information is business confidential and would not
customarily be released to the public by the submitter. A non-
confidential version of the comment must also be provided. For any
document containing business confidential information, the file name of
the business confidential version should begin with the characters
“BC-”, and the file name of the public version should begin with the
character “P-”. The “P-” or “BC-” should be followed by the name
of the submitter. Submissions should not include separate cover
letters; information that might appear in a cover letter should be
included in the submission itself. To the extent possible, any
attachments to the submission should be included in the same file as
the submission itself, and not as separate files.
    All comments should be addressed to Jennifer Choe Groves, Director
for Intellectual Property and Innovation and Chair of the Special 301
Committee, Office of the United States Trade Representative, and sent
(i) electronically, to FR0606@ustr.eop.gov (please note, “FR0606”
consists of the numbers “zero-six-zero-six”) with “Special 301
Review” in the subject line, or (ii) by fax, to (202) 395-9458, with a
confirmation copy sent electronically to the e-mail address above.
    Public inspection of submissions: (1) Within one business day of
receipt, non-confidential submissions will be placed in a public file
open for inspection and copying at the USTR reading room, Office of the
United States Trade Representative, Annex Building, 1724 F Street, NW.,
Room 1, Washington, DC. An appointment to review the file must be
scheduled at least 48 hours in advance and may be made by calling
Jacqueline Caldwell at (202) 395-6186. The USTR reading room is open to
the public from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday
through Friday; or (2) non-confidential submissions received in
electronic form may be made available on USTR’s Web site at http://
www.ustr.gov. Non-confidential written submissions by the general
public and foreign governments will be made available for copying,
distribution, or other dissemination to the public.

Stanford McCoy,
Acting Assistant USTR for Intellectual Property and Innovation.
[FR Doc. E8-678 Filed 1-15-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3190-W8-P