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Both Problems And Progress Seen In Intellectual Property Rights Protection

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

The office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has sent Congress its annual report on the adequacy and effectiveness of U.S. trading partners' protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), which shows some progress but also names a number of countries where it feels IPR protection is falling short of what needs to be done.

The report places considerable emphasis on what it says are "the prominence of IPR concerns with respect to China."

USTR Ron Kirk said: "We are seriously concerned about China's implementation of 'indigenous innovation' policies that may unduly disadvantage U.S. IPR holders. Procurement preferences and other measures favoring 'indigenous innovation' could severely restrict market access for American technology and products."  He added that intellectual property theft in overseas markets is an export killer for American businesses and a job killer for American workers here at home."

U.S. textile and apparel makers have long been victims of both imports and exports from China and other countries that they say violate their intellectual property rights.

After reviewing actions by 77 countries, the USTR placed 11 countries on its Priority Watch List of counties that it feels do not provide adequate levels of IPR protection. Those countries include China, Russia, Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand and Venezuela.

Twenty-nine countries are on a lower priority list; and the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland were removed from the Priority Watch List.

Kirk said he would continue to work with the governments of the listed countries in an effort to resolve problems.

May 4, 2010

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