USTR Issues 2017 Trade Policy Review, Listing IPR Priorities 01/03/2017 by Kim Treanor for Intellectual Property Watch and William New 2 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The Office of the United States Trade Representative today released its 2017 trade policy agenda. The report includes numerous references to intellectual property rights, mainly focused on enforcement, plans for multilateral discussions on IPR and trade, and promises of an aggressive stance on geographical indications. But overall it is short on overall details about what’s to come with the new administration. The full Trade Policy Agenda 2017 and 2016 Annual Report is available here [pdf]. Among the many chapters, the report highlights the World Trade Organization Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) special session on geographical indications (GIs). In discussing competing proposals for the protection of GIs, the report says: “The United States will continue to aggressively oppose expanding negotiations, will continue to pursue additional support for the Joint Proposal in the coming year, and will seek a more flexible and pragmatic approach from supporters of the EU proposal.” The report also details the past year’s activities of the TRIPS Council generally, from a US perspective, and lists priorities for 2017. The TRIPS Council is meeting this week at WTO. The report states (p. 44): “U.S. objectives for 2017 [for TRIPS Council] continue to be to: – resolve differences through consultations and use of dispute settlement procedures, where appropriate; – continue efforts to ensure that developing country Members fully implement the TRIPS Agreement; – engage in constructive dialogue with WTO members, including regarding the technical assistance and capacity-related needs of developing countries, and especially LDCs, in connection with TRIPS Agreement implementation; – continue to encourage a fact-based discussion within the TRIPS Council regarding TRIPS Agreement provisions; – ensure that provisions of the TRIPS Agreement are not weakened; – continue to advance discussions on IP and Innovation, including through data-driven discussions on IPR that promote concrete outcomes; and – intensify discussions within the TRIPS Council on the application of non-violation nullification and impairment (NVNI) under the TRIPS Agreement.” In the TRIPS Council section, it also offers substantive details on the positive impact on patenting and environmental technologies. The report also reaffirms the commitment of the current US administration to enforcement of IP rights, saying in part: “Important sectors of the global economy, and significant markets around the world, have been at times distorted by foreign government subsidies, theft of intellectual property, currency manipulation, unfair competitive behavior by state-owned enterprises, violations of labor laws, use of forced labor, and numerous other unfair practices…. And, when the WTO adopts interpretations of WTO agreements that undermine the ability of the United States and other WTO Members to respond effectively to these real-world unfair trade practices with remedies expressly allowed under WTO rules, those interpretations undermine confidence in the trading system…. Accordingly, the Trump Administration will act aggressively as needed to discourage this type of behavior – and encourage true market competition.” On “next steps” for trade policy, the report is brief, and mentions that with the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), “the President sent a clear signal that the United States would take a new approach to trade issues, and paved the way for potential bilateral talks with the remaining TPP countries.” And although the nominated new USTR has not been approved yet, it states: “The President has also put together a strong team of officials who are committed to defending America’s national sovereignty, enforcing U.S. trade laws, and using American leverage to open markets for our goods and services.” On the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), it mentions that it is still evaluating its strategy. The report also has a section on Special 301, the unilateral program of assessing trading partners’ protection of US IP rights. But the report only talks about how Special 301 works and what last year’s results were. Image Credits: USTR Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Kim Treanor may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.William New may be reached at email@example.com."USTR Issues 2017 Trade Policy Review, Listing IPR Priorities" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.