Costa Rica appears on the United States Trade Representative (USTR) list released on Friday, of countries that violate the intellectual property rights in the United States.
The 2018 Special 301 Report identifies trading partners that do not adequately or effectively protect and enforce intellectual property (IP) rights or otherwise deny market access to U.S. innovators and creators that rely on the protection of their IP rights.
Costa Rica is on the ‘Watch List’, which represents a lower level of infringement in relation to piracy. The other Latin American countries on the Watch List are Bolivia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru.
The USTR downgraded Canada, neighbor and partner of the United States in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), from the Watch List to the Priority Watch List that also includes Argentina, Chile, China (for the 14th consecutive year) Colombia and Venezuela, among others.
USTR said Canada was downgraded because of concerns about “poor border enforcement generally” and more specific issues including that Canadian customs officials lack authority to inspect and detain suspected counterfeit or pirated goods shipped through Canada, concerns over pharmaceutical protection, and deficient copyright protection.
The total number of countries on the Watch List and Priority Watch List grew to 36 from 34 a year ago, as USTR added Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to the Watch List.
“Watch List” countries have been identified by the USTR as having “serious intellectual property rights deficiencies” but are not yet placed on the “Priority Watchlist”
“Priority Watchlist countries” are judged by the USTR as having “serious intellectual property rights deficiencies” that require increased USTR attention.
The annual list, which carries no immediate penalties, is supposed draw attention to the need for nations to address everything from copyright infringement to online piracy.