On December 28, 2016, he Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register a request for comments and notice of public hearing [Docket No. USTR–2016–0026] to identify countries, pursuant to Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974, that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. persons who rely on intellectual property protection.

The provisions of Section 182 are commonly referred to as the “Special 301” provisions of the Trade Act and requires USTR to determine which, if any, of these countries to identify as Priority Foreign Countries. USTR requests written comments that identify acts, policies, or practices that may form the basis of a country’s identification as a Priority Foreign Country or placement on the Priority Watch List or Watch List. USTR also requests notices of intent to appear at the public hearing. See the Federal Register notice for the schedule and deadlines for submitting requests to testify, written comments and post-hearing comments. The hearing will be held on February 28, 2017.