Cablegate: 2007 Special 301 Czech Republic Ocr Results


DE RUEHC #1988 0081942
O 081941Z JAN 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: PRAGUE 849, PRAGUE, 1228, STATE 1484761

1. This is an ACTION REQUEST. The USG Special 301 Committee has
concluded its deliberations regarding the Czech Republic's status on
the Special 301 list following the Out-of-Cycle Review (OCR). The
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) will announce that the
Czech Republic has been placed on the Special 301 Watch List. Post is
requested to use the information in Paragraph 4 to provide the host
government with advance notice of the conclusion of the review and of
the impending announcement. Post may leave behind the points in
paragraph 4 as a non-paper. Washington prefers that points be
delivered orally/in person. END ACTION REQUEST.

2. Each Spring USTR issues the Special 301 Report to identify
countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual
property rights or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S.
persons who rely on intellectual property protection. The USG
Special 301 Committee conducted an OCR for the Czech Republic before
the start of the regular 2008 annual review.

3. The Spring 2007 decision to conduct an OCR for the Czech Republic
was intended to provide time for the Czech Government to demonstrate
concrete improvements to its IPR regime, especially with respect to
copyright and trademark enforcement, to avoid a Special 301 Watch
List designation. In the 2007 Special 301 Report released in April
2007 and in subsequent interactions with the Czech Government, the
USG noted its concern with the rapidly growing open-air border
markets selling large volumes of pirated and counterfeit goods.

4. Special 301 results for the Czech Republic: We request that
Embassy Prague raise the following in its discussion with host
government officials.

-- The USG has completed its IPR Out-of-Cycle Review and has decided
to put the Czech Republic on the Special 301 Watch List for
inadequate IPR enforcement at the border markets. USTR is set to
announce this decision on the USTR website during January 2008. The
Czech Republic's status on the Watch List will take effect
immediately upon the announcement by USTR.

-- The Czech Republic narrowly missed being placed on the Watch List
in April 2007, despite strong pressures from U.S. industry. The
decision was based on USG assessment that the Czech Government must
be given an opportunity to make significant progress in addressing
IPR violations at the border markets.

-- Since April 2007, the USG has been monitoring Czech progress in
reducing the sale of pirated and counterfeit goods at its border
markets over the past nine months. Despite taking some steps,
including the formulation of an IPR Action Plan, the Czech Government
has not meaningfully implemented the Action Plan nor reduced the sale
of pirated and counterfeit goods available at these markets. The IPR
violations at the border markets originally noted by the recording
industry continue relatively free from prosecution and deterrent
sentencing, and therefore, the border markets have grown in size and

-- The Czech Government needs to do more than simply play a
high-level coordination role. The U.S. Government believes the Czech
Government should take more ownership of the issue in order for the
IPR Action Plan to be implemented quickly and effectively. The U.S.
Government presented a suggested action plan to the Czech Government
that included steps necessary to combat piracy and counterfeiting at
the markets, and provided comments to the Czech Government on its own
action plan to strengthen it and address all areas needing

-- As the 2008 annual review begins, we urge the Czech Government to
submit a statement for the Special 301 review. The due date for
government submissions to USTR will be February 29, 2008. In this
submission, it would be useful to the U.S. Government if the Czech
Government can describe progress it has made to implement the
elements of its October 3, 2007 Action Plan.

-- We also encourage the Czech Government again to consider some
additional elements from the U.S. Government plan submitted in May
2007, as discussed in our October meeting. Specifically, we would
like to see (1) an increased/sustained enforcement presence at the
markets, (2) landlord liability legislation and revocation of
business licenses for IPR violators, and (3) concrete timelines for
implementation of the items in the action plan.

-- The U.S. Government remains open to convening a videoconference
with the Czech Government or meeting in person (if possible in
Washington, D.C.) to discuss the Watch List designation and our
expectations for the upcoming 2008 Special 301 annual review. The
April 2008 Special 301 Report will be an opportunity for the Czech
Republic to be removed from the Watch List, and the United States is
ready to work together with the Czech Republic towards that goal.

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