U.S. Trade Representative Office closes hearing on intellectual property rights in Uzbekistan
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) – In early November of this year, the Office of the Trade Representative under the Executive Office of the President of the United States (USTR) announced its decision to discontinue the practice of hearings that examined the applicability of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) to Uzbekistan.
Generalized System of Preferences is a duty-free regime for importing goods into the United States, established by the 1974 Trade Act in respect of imports from developing countries. Uzbekistan was granted the beneficiary status of SHGs (the right to duty-free supplies to the United States) in August 1994.
In November 2018, the Embassy of Uzbekistan in the USA took part in the hearings initiated by the Office of the US Trade Representative for the petitions of two non-governmental organizations, the International Forum for Workers' Rights (ILRF) and the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA). The petitions, citing violations of workers' rights and the lack of adequate protection of intellectual property rights, required the cessation of the application of the GSP regime in relation to Uzbekistan.
Following a review of the parties' submissions, the Office of the United States Trade Representative decided to maintain the application of duty free trade in Uzbekistan and to close hearings on intellectual property.
The USTR comments that the decision to close the review procedure took into account the important steps that Uzbekistan has taken to improve the legal regime for the protection of intellectual property, including Uzbekistan's accession to the 1971 Convention on the Protection of the Interests of Phonogram Producers and WIPO Copyright Agreements the right to performances and phonograms of 1996. Office representatives express their hope for the subsequent implementation of these conventions and the development of effective copyright protection mechanisms.
Representatives of the US Presidential Administration also recognize the increased political attention at the highest level to copyright protection issues, including supporting and assisting Uzbekistan in the creation of the Central Asian Working Group in the field of intellectual property during the meeting of the Council of the Framework Agreement on Trade and Investment between Central Asian countries and USA held in Tashkent in October 2018.
“We believe that these positive changes represent a critical turning point in terms of protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights in Uzbekistan. We would like to continue working with Uzbekistan in order to rely on these positive steps to support efforts that will ultimately improve the investment climate in Uzbekistan,” the US Trade Representative Office said.