New Delhi (Sputnik) — A report prepared by the US Trade Representative office has included India, Russia, Ukraine, and China on the Priority Watch List of 11 countries, terming them as "trading partners that currently present the most significant concerns regarding IP rights".
The others comprise Algeria, Argentina, Chile, Indonesia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela, reported the International Business Times, an American online news publication.
In its "Special 301" annual report for 2018, released on Thursday, the Office of the US Trade Representative Office (USTR) has identified "trading partners that do not adequately or effectively protect and enforce intellectual property (IP) rights or otherwise deny market access to US innovators and creators that rely on protection of their IP rights".
Trading partners that currently present the most significant concerns regarding IP rights are placed on the Priority Watch List or Watch List.
Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, and Venezuela are on the Priority Watch List.
Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, Guatemala, Jamaica, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Romania, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam are on the Watch List.
According to the report, these trading partners will be the subject of increased bilateral engagement with the USTR to address IP concerns. Specifically, over the coming weeks, the USTR will review the developments against the benchmarks established in the Special 301 action plans for countries that have been on the Priority Watch List for multiple years.
For such countries that fail to address US concerns, the USTR will take appropriate actions, such as enforcement actions under Section 301 of the Trade Act or pursuant to the World Trade Organisation or other trade agreement dispute settlement procedures, necessary to combat unfair trade practices and to ensure that trading partners follow through with their international commitments, says the USTR report.
The report "identifies foreign trading partners where IP protection and enforcement has deteriorated or remained at inadequate levels and where US persons who rely on IP protection have difficulty with fair and equitable market access".
The USTR document continues to maintain that China still needs to amend some of its laws that currently allow their firms to violate the intellectual property rights of foreign firms, including online piracy, counterfeiting and registering trademarks in bad faith, among other things.
Intellectual property is one of the main friction points in US-China trade ties. Both countries are currently in the throes of a tariff and trade war launched by US President Donald Trump to which Beijing has responded with countermeasures.