USTR Ends Review of Pakistan’s Protection of Intellectual Property Rights

January 24, 2006

WASHINGTON – U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman
today announced that the United
States has closed an ongoing review of an
industry-initiated petition seeking termination of Pakistan’s eligibility for the
Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program based on concerns over
intellectual property rights.  The
GSP program provides duty-free treatment to certain exports to the United
In 2004, such duty-free treatment was provided to $94 million of
Pakistan’s exports.   The U.S. determined that it was appropriate to end
the petition review due to the significant progress Pakistan has recently made in the
protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, especially with
regard to stopping production of pirated optical media products (e.g., CDs,

“The United
States is pleased with the recent progress Pakistan has demonstrated in fighting
optical disk piracy,” said Ambassador Portman.  “Pakistan’s concerted efforts since
April 2005, particularly its enforcement actions have resulted in concrete
results, including destruction of pirated optical disks, plant closures,
arrests, and confiscations of imported disks.  

“In recognition of these positive
developments, the United
States has closed the review of the GSP petition
concerning intellectual property rights protection and enforcement in Pakistan,” Portman added.  “We look forward to working together
with Pakistan to ensure that enforcement
actions continue and that further steps are taken to strengthen its intellectual
property environment.”

Pakistan has engaged in a number of additional
actions to improve its intellectual property rights (IPR) regime.  The government announced new regulations
to fight IPR theft, and established the “Intellectual Property Organization of
Pakistan” to coordinate enforcement actions, with notable results.  Pakistan has also initiated the
process to accede to World Intellectual Property (WIPO) internet treaties, the
World Copyright Treaty, and the World Performance and Phonogram

The United
States will continue to monitor Pakistan’s efforts to achieve
continued IPR protection and enforcement through the section 301 process and
ongoing bilateral consultations.


In 2001, the International Intellectual
Property Alliance (IIPA), an association representing U.S. copyright-based industries, filed a petition
requesting review of Pakistan’s GSP eligibility due to IPR
concerns.  The IIPA petition
highlighted Pakistan’s failure to adequately
enforce IPR, specifically its copyright laws.  IIPA cited problems with piracy of
optical and audio media, business software, cable television, and books, and
requested that Pakistan’s eligibility for
preferential duty-free tariff treatment under the GSP program be terminated due
to these problems.

In November 2005, the Administration held
public hearings regarding the issues raised in the petition.  Public testimony supported terminating
the review due to the positive steps taken by Pakistan to protect optical disk IPR
in 2005.  IIPA recommended that the
country practice review for Pakistan be closed in recognition of improvements
in Pakistan’s efforts to protect

The U.S. Generalized System of Preferences
(GSP), a program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world,
provides preferential duty-free entry for more than 3400 products from nearly
140 designated beneficiary developing countries and territories. The GSP program
was instituted on January 1,
1976.  In 2004,
Pakistan exported over $94
million in products to the United States duty-free through the
GSP program. 

For additional information pertaining to the
GSP program, go to: