The office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has requested comments from the public regarding countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights (IPR). According to the Federal Register notice, written submissions are due by February 6 for most parties, except for foreign governments, whose written submissions are due February 13. In addition to the request for written submissions, USTR has announced a public hearing at the International Trade Commission, scheduled for February 24. Interested parties are instructed to submit notices of intent to appear at the hearing along with their written submissions.
The proceedings are part of USTR's annual Section 301 review, which is required by Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (19 U.S.C. § 2411). In its Section 301 review, USTR surveys the policies and practices of trading partners in order to identify Priority Foreign Countries. Once identified, these countries then become the focus of increased bilateral attention concerning areas of inadequate IPR protection and are covered by USTR's annual Section 301 report.