On January 3, 2014, the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) published a Notice soliciting comments concerning its annual “Special Section 301” review of countries that do not provide adequate protection of intellectual property (“IP”) rights or deny fair market access to U.S. businesses that rely on IP.  Based on USTR’s review, any trading partner that USTR determines (i) had egregious IPR-related acts, policies and practices with the greatest adverse impact on U.S. exports and (ii) was not entering into good faith negotiations or making significant progress in providing adequate and effective IP protection will be designated a “Priority Foreign Country.”  Any country given such designation will be the subject of intensive bilateral engagement and a possible Section 301 investigation.  USTR also compiles a Priority Watch List and a Watch List to identify additional countries in which U.S. companies are encountering IP protection, enforcement, or market access problems.  Countries placed on these lists are targeted for additional bilateral engagement.  Last year, ten countries – Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, and Venezuela – were on the Priority Watch List.  Thirty countries were on the Watch List.  Public comments are due on Friday, February 7, 2014.  Foreign Governments may submit written comments by Friday, February 14, 2014.  A public hearing will be held on Monday, February 24, 2014.  Post-hearing comments are due on Friday, March 7, 2014.  USTR will issue its Special 301 Report in May.