Wed, 12 May 2021

WASHINGTON D.C.: China has yet to fulfill its obligations to ensure that intellectual property is robustly protected, as outlined under the first phase of the trade agreement inked between the U.S. and China in 2020, according to the trade office of the Biden-Harris administration, commenting on April 30.

The "Special 301" report, issued yearly by the USTR office on intellectual property, highlights changes made to the Chinese Copyright, Patent, and Criminal Laws in 2020 and the country's IP administration having put out various draft measures regarding regulations on intellectual property.

"However, these steps toward reform require effective implementation and fall short of the full range of fundamental changes needed to improve the IP landscape in China," the USTR noted.

These pledges were made under the comprehensive agreement reached between Donald Trump's government and China that encompassed alterations to agritech regulations and guarantees on buying US$200 billion worth of goods from the United States for a two-year period.

The Special 301 report highlights the ongoing ambiguity over the efficacy of legal tweaks made by China, even as issues with trademarks and counterfeit endure.

The report further drew attention to remarks by Chinese officials stressing on linking intellectual property rights with national security, along with the importance of developing "indigenous" inventions.

"Such statements and measures raise concerns about requiring and pressuring technology transfers and about whether IP protection and enforcement will apply fairly to foreign right holders in China," the USTR stated.

The USTR's report identifies China, in addition to Argentina, Chile, India, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Venezuela, for committing IPR violations and places them on a "priority watch list".

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