The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issued the “Special 301 Report” on April 27, keeping China on its priority watch list and paying close attention to the progress of the first phase of the U.S.-China trade agreement.
USTR has been taking action under Section 301 of the Trade Act to address a variety of unfair and damaging Chinese acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation.
According to the report, China passed a patent law in 2021, among other measures aimed at protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights.
While U.S. intellectual property rights holders welcome these developments, they “continue to express concerns about the adequacy of these measures and their effective implementation, as well as long-standing concerns about malicious trademarks, counterfeiting, and online piracy.”
The United States is concerned about Beijing authorities’ approval of intellectual property theft by Chinese companies and the forced transfer of U.S. technology to Chinese companies in order to gain market access.
The report also noted that the United States is closely monitoring China’s progress in meeting its commitments under the first phase of the U.S.-China trade agreement.
On February 17, the Office of the United States Trade Representative published the results of its 2021 review of counterfeiting and piracy in prominent markets.
Tensions between the U.S. and China increased as China’s AliExpress and WeChat were added to the list of notorious markets for the first time. Meanwhile, other Chinese online markets such as Baidu Wangpan, DHGate, Pinduoduo, and Taobao remain listed.
The Notorious Markets List identifies online and offline markets that allegedly participate in or enable significant trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy.
According to Ambassador Kathrine Tai, global commerce in counterfeit and pirated goods not only undercuts important U.S. innovation and creativity but also harms American employees.
She added, “This illicit trade also increases the vulnerability of workers involved in the manufacturing of counterfeit goods to exploitative labor practices, and the counterfeit goods can pose significant risks to the health and safety of consumers and workers around the world.”