On January 11, 2016, the Office of the United States Trade Representative published in the Federal Register (81 FR 1277) 2016 Special 301 Review: Identification of Countries Under Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974: Request for Public Comment and Announcement of Public Hearing
SUMMARY: Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974 (Trade Act) requires the United States Trade Representative (Trade Representative) to identify countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. persons who rely on intellectual property protection. The provisions of Section 182 are commonly referred to as the ``Special 301'' provisions of the Trade Act. The Trade Act requires the Trade Representative to determine which, if any, of these countries to identify as Priority Foreign Countries. Acts, policies, or practices that are the basis of a country's identification as a Priority Foreign Country can be subject to the procedures set out in sections 301-305 of the Trade Act.
In addition, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has created a ``Priority Watch List'' and ``Watch List'' to assist the Administration in pursuing the goals of the Special 301 provisions. Placement of a trading partner on the Priority Watch List of Watch List indicates that particular problems exist in that country with respect to IPR protection, enforcement or market access for persons that rely on intellectual property protection. Trading partners placed on the Priority Watch List are the focus of increased bilateral attention concerning the problem areas.
USTR is hereby requesting written submissions from the public concerning foreign countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. persons who rely on intellectual property protection. USTR requests that interested persons provide the information described below in the ``Public Comments'' section, and identify whether a particular trading partner should be named as a Priority Foreign Country under Section 182 of the Trade Act or placed on the Priority Watch List or Watch List. Foreign governments that have been identified in previous Special 301 Reports or that are nominated for review in 2016 are considered interested parties, and are invited to respond to this request for public submissions. Interested persons and foreign governments wishing to submit information to be considered during the review or testify at the public hearing must adhere to the procedures and deadlines stet forth below.
DATES: The schedule and deadlines for the 2016 Special 301 review are as follows:
Friday, February 5, 2016 at midnight EST--Deadline for interested persons to submit written comments, notices of intent to testify at the Special 301 Public Hearing, and Hearing statements.
Friday, February 19, 2016 at midnight EST--Deadline for foreign governments to submit written comments, notices of intent to testify at the Special 301 Public Hearing, and although not mandatory, any prepared hearing statements.
Tuesday, March 1, 2016--Public Hearing--The Special 301 Subcommittee will hold a public hearing for interested persons, including representatives of foreign governments, at the Office of the United State Trade Representative, 1724 F Street, NW., Rooms 1&2, Washington, DC 20508. If necessary, the hearing may continue on the next business day. Please consult the USTR Web site for confirmation of the date and location and the schedule of witnesses.
Friday, March 4, 2016 at midnight EST--Deadline for submitting post-hearing written comments. Interested persons who testified at the public hearing may provide written comments after the hearing. To ensure consideration, comments must be received no later than Friday, March 4, 2016. Please submit additional written comments electronically via www.regulations.gov, docket number USTR-2015-0022.
On or about April 30, 2016--USTR will publish the 2016 Special 301 Report within 30 days of the publication of the National Trade Estimate (NTE) Report.