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Placement of Belarus in USTR Report on intellectual property rights protection

Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in the United States of America
Press Release

In April 2016, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released the 2016 “Special 301” Report on the global state of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement.

This report is widely known in the world as a reliable source of information on situation in the intellectual property rights sphere in particular countries. The conclusions contained in the report are taken into consideration by the business community when analyzing prospects for trade and investment cooperation with the reported country.

In the 2016 report, Belarus graduated from the Watch List, where Belarus had been placed since 1999.

It is noteworthy that this decision by USTR has been listed among the most significant elements of the 2016 Special 301 Report.

We regard the USTR decision on Belarus as recognition of the substantial efforts taken by Belarus to address the U.S. concerns regarding IPR protection in Belarus, which initially prompted the U.S. decision to place Belarus on the Watch List.

The recent U.S. move was made possible following the comprehensive effort of the Belarusian authorities and is the result of constructive cooperation with the U.S. Government on IPR protection.

Below is section from the report on Belarus:

“Belarus is removed from the Watch List this year. Over the past several years Belarus has shown continued commitment to improve its laws on IPR protection and enforcement, including an ongoing upgrade of the National Center for Intellectual Property’s automated systems. In 2015, Belarus amended its administrative and criminal codes to strengthen penalties for repeat infringers. Also in 2015, authorities in Belarus worked with enforcement authorities in other countries on joint IPR enforcement initiatives. Authorities, including the Ministry of Interior, have launched investigations and seized counterfeit and pirated products, and courts have issued convictions under the criminal code with respect to IP-related crimes”.  

The full report is available: https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/USTR-2016-Special-301-Report.pdf