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WASHINGTON - The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative today announced that it will continue to review a petition submitted by the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) to remove Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits from Brazil for inadequate protection of intellectual property rights. The extension of the review is a result of some initial positive steps taken by the Brazilian Government, as well as USTR consultations with U.S. copyright stakeholders.
On March 8, Acting USTR Peter Allgeier met with Brazilian Under-Secretary Clodoaldo Hugueney, to review Brazil’s enforcement measures from September 2004 through February 2005, which included raids and other police actions. During this same period, Brazil’s National Council to Combat Piracy and Intellectual Property Crimes, which includes private sector representatives of U.S. copyright industries, developed a National Action Plan that was adopted on March 17.
The United States believes that these efforts represent a promising change in Brazil’s commitment to address long-standing piracy and enforcement concerns, and a new stage for greater cooperation with the private sector. However, to date, these efforts have fallen short in bringing about a significant increase in the number of prosecutions and convictions for criminal copyright violations, which is a key element for successfully reducing piracy levels.
Accordingly, the United States and Brazil expect to continue working together and monitoring the progress made in combating copyright piracy. As part of this effort, the GSP review has been formally extended to September 30, 2005, in order to allow time for the new National Action Plan to become effective in enforcing copyrights and reducing piracy. The focus of the extended review will be on implementation and enforcement of both existing laws and recently adopted measures. The Administration looks to the Government of Brazil to achieve and demonstrate concrete progress in reducing unacceptable levels of copyright piracy, particularly through increased prosecutions and criminal convictions.
The Administration attaches a high priority to obtaining substantial improvement in the protection of U.S. intellectual property rights in Brazil, and will continue to work closely with U.S. copyright interests to that end.