US government hits out at Canada’s border enforcement efforts

The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has published the 2018 Special 301 Report, the second released during the Trump administration. Notably, Canada has been added to the Priority Watch List due to “a failure to resolve key longstanding deficiencies in protection and enforcement of IP”.

The Special 301 Report is the US government’s annual round-up of countries that it claims pose the greatest challenges to US rights holders. This latest issue states that of significant concern is Canada’s “poor border and law enforcement” with respect to counterfeit goods, expanding: “The United States remains deeply concerned that Canada does not provide customs officials with the ability to inspect, detain, seize, and destroy in-transit counterfeit and pirated goods entering Canada destined for the United States. As the United States has emphasized, this failure permits counterfeit and pirated goods to enter our highly integrated supply chains. Additionally, there were no known criminal prosecutions for counterfeiting in Canada in 2017, which makes Canada a striking outlier among OECD countries.”

Elsewhere, there was positive news for Thailand. Following the results of the dedicated Out-of-Cycle Review of Thailand late last year, the country moved from the Priority Watch List to the Watch List. This improvement appears to have been spurred by closer engagement, with the report pointing to “results on resolving US IP concerns across a range of issues, including on enforcement, patents and pharmaceuticals, trademarks, and copyright”.

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