[A2k] USTR's 2015 Special 301 List

Claire Cassedy claire.cassedy at keionline.org
Thu Apr 30 11:38:03 PDT 2015


USTR's 2015 Special 301 List

Submitted by James Love  on 30. April 2015 - 13:45

Every year USTR issues a list of countries targeted to be subjected to
trade pressures over their policies on intellectual property rights. This
year's list was published on April 30, 2015. KEI has a copy of every
version of the Special 301 list here:

USTR describes the list as follows:

"The Special 301 Process:

The Congressionally-mandated annual Special 301 Report is the result of an
extensive multi-stakeholder process. Pursuant to the statute mandating the
Report, USTR is charged with designating as Priority Foreign Countries
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 the relevant U.S. products. (See Annex 1).
To facilitate administration of the statute, USTR has created a Priority
Watch List and Watch List within this Report.

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 IPR."

The best way to appreciate the entire Special 301 process is to read a copy
of the report. The 2015 version, including Annex 1 and Annex 2, is 83
pages. Generally speaking, the list is an edited down version of the
complaints put forth by PhRMA and copyright publishers, moderated somewhat
by the USTR staff.

There are some 37 countries singled out for the Priority Watch List, the
Watch List and/or for the Out-of-Cycle Reviews, so the club of countries
included is not very exclusive. Of the so-called BRIC countries, three are
on the Priority Watch List, and Brazil is on the Watch List. Canada, as
usual, is on one of the lists. In South America, 9 of 12 countries are
included in one of Watch Lists, including all countries with significant
economies. In addition to the 37 countries put on one of the two Watch
Lists, lots of other countries are mentioned in the parts of the report
dealing with special issues, such as policies of drug reimbursements.

Overall, the Special 301 process illustrates how much of the Obama
Administration is willing to serve big corporate rights holder lobby
groups. Not as much as the trade associations want, but quite a bit more
than they should.

The KEI comment on this year's list is as follows:

"USTR once again demonstrates that US trade policy is more or less on
automatic pilot, or controlled remotely by drug company and publisher lobby
groups. In a world where skyrocketing prices for drugs for cancer,
hepatitis and other illnesses are driving up health care costs and
contributing to access barriers, where patent trolls are a drag on
innovation and investment, where outdated and excessive term copyright laws
orphan our cultural heritage and threaten new services and the creation of
content, where our trading partners seek to create ownership of facts and
news of the day, USTR focuses its efforts on making PhRMA members and
established publishers richer, regardless of the costs or the policy

USTR does not present or evaluate any new ideas for dealing with the trade
related aspects of funding medical R&D other than raising drug prices, and
it does not measure or address the damage to the economy of rent seeking
patent trolls, or poorly designed and outdated copyright laws."

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