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US places India, China among others on 'Priority Watch List' for IP rights violations

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

PTI Washington D.C., DC, USA Apr 25, 2019, 08.47 PM (IST)

The US on Thursday placed India on its 'Priority Watch List', alleging lack of "sufficient measurable improvements" to its Intellectual Property (IP) framework on long-standing and new challenges that have negatively affected American right holders over the past year.

"Over the past year, India took steps to address intellectual property challenges and promote IP protection and enforcement. However, many of the actions have not yet translated into concrete benefits for innovators and creators, and long-standing deficiencies persist. India remains one of the world's most challenging major economies with respect to protection and enforcement of IP," an official US report said.

The US Trade Representatives (USTR) in its report identified 11 countries, including India, in its 'Priority Watch List'. 

China, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela are among others. It has also placed 25 countries, including Pakistan, Turkey and the UAE, on the Watch List.

In February, Republican Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee had said he worried about the spread in the United States of what he called "counterintelligence and information security risks that come prepackaged with the goods and services of certain overseas vendors."

President Donald Trump has repeatedly thrashed Beijing for what he said was the rampant theft of US know-how, through forced technology transfer and other means, and made that a central feature of ongoing trade talks.

Trade officials are due to resume talks in Beijing on April 30 and then return to Washington for another round on May 8th.

China remains at the top of the USTR "priority watch list" for the worst violators of US trade secrets and an online market run by Alibaba also features on the "notorious markets" list.

Canada was removed from the worst-offenders list after the signing of a new regional free trade agreement, which includes new provisions to protect intellectual property. 

The report said "these commitments will substantially improve the IP environment in Canada." 

Colombia likewise was removed from the list after signing a free trade deal with Washington, but Saudi Arabia was added "for failing to address longstanding IP concerns and further deteriorating IP protection and enforcement within its borders," especially with regards to medicines, the report said.