Every year as part of its Special 301 Review process, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) solicits “written submissions from the public concerning foreign countries’ acts, policies, or practices that are relevant to the decision whether a particular trading partner should be identified under Section 182 of the Trade Act.”
The submission draws on our experience providing technical assistance to public agencies, particularly in developing countries, on patent, copyright and other intellectual property (IP) rules to protect access to medicines and knowledge. The comments call for the Special 301 Report to be discontinued, absent a significant shift in its expressed values. The comments establish minimum principles to which any 301-type process must nevertheless adhere, including omitting any reference to a country’s TRIPS-compliant policies that advance a public interest. The comments also provide analysis of laws and public interest policy developments in countries that USTR has previously watch-listed, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.