WASHINGTON, May 2 (UPI) -- U.S. trade officials have designated Ukraine a Priority Foreign Country, indicating it is "severely" insufficient in protecting intellectual property rights.
"I regret that the Government of Ukraine has earned the first new Priority Foreign Country designation in 11 years due to its severely deteriorating climate for intellectual property rights protection and market access, and call upon that government to reverse recent backsliding and swiftly resolve the problems identified today," acting U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis said in a statement.
In its annual "Special 301" Report, mandated by the Trade Act of 1974, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said it reviewed intellectual property rights protection, policies and enforcement of 95 countries in the past year. One of the disappointing factors in the case of Ukraine, the report said, is the country was not even engaged in negotiations for making improvements in IPR (intellectual property rights) protection.
Ukraine was cited for "severe deterioration of enforcement in the areas of government use of pirated software and piracy over the Internet, as well as denial of fair and equitable market access through the authorization and operation of copyright collecting societies," the trade office said.
Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand and Venezuela Ten countries are currently on a Priority Watch List. The trade office said it would "seek to engage intensively with these countries, as appropriate, during the coming year."
The trade office said Canada had moved off its Priority Watch List to its Watch List "in recognition of significant progress on copyright issues." Brunei Darussalam and Norway, concurrently, were moved off the Watch List, which is now comprised of 30 trading partners that are considered less of a problem than those on the Priority Watch List.
Barbados, Bulgaria, Paraguay and Trinidad and Tobago were added to the Watch List this year, the office said.