The United States on Thursday placed India on its Priority Watch List for alleged violations of intellectual property rights. The Office of the United States Trade Representative released its annual Special 301 Report, in which it placed 36 countries on the Priority Watch List and Watch List.

A press release by the USTR said: “Trading partners that currently present the most significant concerns regarding IP rights are placed on the Priority Watch List or Watch List.”

While India has been placed on the Priority Watch List, Pakistan is on the Watch List. Other countries on the Priority Watch List are Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Venezuela.

The USTR said it will engage in bilateral discussions with the 36 countries to address intellectual property concerns. “For such countries that fail to address US concerns, USTR will take appropriate actions, such as enforcement actions under Section 301 of the Trade Act or pursuant to World Trade Organization or other trade agreement dispute settlement procedures,” it added. The USTR said such actions are necessary to fight against unfair trade practices.

Notorious markets

The Office of the US Trade Representative also published a list of 33 online markets and 25 physical markets which it alleged indulge in copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. In India, the Tank Road market in New Delhi has been included in the list. The USTR described it as “a market selling counterfeit products, including apparel and footwear”.

“Road wholesalers are also reportedly supplied to other Indian markets, including Gaffar Market and Ajmal Khan Road,” it added. “These wholesalers appear to operate freely, allowing them to build wellestablished businesses over many years.” The USTR urged India to take action against the Tank Road market.