Washington, D.C. – The United States and Paraguay signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on intellectual property rights (IPR) during today’s meeting of the United States-Paraguay Partnership Dialogue at the Department of State. As part of the MOU, Paraguay has committed to take specific steps to improve its IPR protection and enforcement environment. Additionally, the MOU creates a bilateral partnership in which the United States intends to support Paraguay’s efforts to strengthen the legal protection and enforcement of IPR, including through the enhancement of creative and innovative industries, to promote Paraguay’s strategic priorities of growth and development.
Deputy USTR Robert Holleyman said, “We are encouraged by the recent steps the Paraguayan government has taken to enhance administrative and border enforcement. This MOU is an important step forward in the efforts to further improve IPR protection and enforcement in Paraguay.”
As a result of the MOU’s signing and the commitments Paraguay has assumed under the MOU to strengthen IPR protection and enforcement in Paraguay, USTR has removed Paraguay from the 2015 Special 301 Watch List pursuant to an Out-of-Cycle Review.
In early 1998, the United States designated Paraguay a Priority Foreign Country and initiated a Section 301 investigation of Paraguay to determine whether Paraguay’s acts, policies, and practices with respect to the protection and enforcement of IPR were unreasonable, discriminatory, and constituted a burden or restriction on U.S. commerce. The United States subsequently concluded an IPR MOU with Paraguay in November 1998 to resolve the underlying IPR issues and suspended the Section 301 investigation. The MOU was extended several times, renegotiated in 2008, and then extended again in 2009 and 2011. The last MOU expired in April 2012. When efforts to negotiate a new MOU were unsuccessful, the United States then placed Paraguay on the Special 301 Watch List. MOU negotiations with Paraguay were re-launched in March 2014 with the support of President Horacio Cartes.
During the past 18 months, the Government of Paraguay, primarily through DINAPI and partner law enforcement agencies, has stepped up its efforts to strengthen IPR protection and enforcement. While the United States applauds Paraguay’s recent actions and its commitments under the MOU, we also recognize the need for coordinated and sustained efforts to resolve longstanding issues in the protection and enforcement of IPR in Paraguay, and we will be monitoring Paraguay’s progress in this regard.