Wednesday, April 30, 2008

India and 301 Sanctions.

The Economic Times Reports

NEW DELHI: The US government has put India on its 'Priority Watch List', along with nine other countries, saying that the country's failure to protect Intellectual Property Rights is putting health, safety and jobs of its citizens at risk.

"Pirates and counterfeiters don't just steal ideas; they steal jobs, and too often they threaten our health and safety," said the US Trade Representative Susan Schwab, while commenting on the United States Trade Representative (USTR) 2008 Special 301 Report.

Besides India, the US has put countries like China, Russia, Pakistan, Argentina, Chile, Israel, Thailand and Venezuela in the list.

"Countries on the Priority Watch List do not provide an adequate level of IPR protection or enforcement, or market access for persons relying on intellectual property protection, in absolute terms and or relative to a range of factors such as their level of development," the report said.

It added that identified countries "will be the subject of particularly intense engagement through bilateral discussion during the coming year". Last year too, the US administration had put India on its watch list under "section 301" and threatened to impose trade sanctions for violating IPR.

Later, the Indian government adopted a slew of measures to check violation of IPR, including strong patent laws.

The report has placed a total of 46 countries on the watch list that have failed to provide an adequate level of Intellectual Property Rights protection.

The US report on global IPR violations also focused on growing problem of internet piracy and counterfeiting of pharmaceuticals and other products that, it claimed, threatened the health and safety of consumers around the world.

Section 301 sanctions have always made countries pay more attention to their Intellectual Property Protection policy as non compliance might lead to Trade Sanctions but the question that whether such methods adopted by United Sates is in compliance of WTO norms remains unanswered.

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