U.S.-based Defenders of Property Rights commended this morning’s decision by the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to defer a final decision on Brazil’s preferential trade status with the U.S. until September 30, 2005.
Brazil, one of America’s largest trading partners, exported goods to the US valued at $21.3 billion in 2003, of which, 14 percent enjoyed duty-free status.
In January 2001, due to a petition from the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) for a chronic lack of enforcement of copyright laws, the USTR placed Brazil on the Special 301 Watchlist, a list it will remain on during the extension review.
USTR’s announcement this morning stated that the United States will look to Brazil for “concrete progress in reducing unacceptable levels of copyright piracy … “
“USTR has sent a clear signal to Brazil,” said Defenders’ president Nancie Marzulla. “Brazil should consider this an opportunity to right their ways and stop robbing American businesses of their intellectual property rights.
“They are by no means off the hook. Brazil’s government has been given six months probation and Defenders of Property Rights will be keeping a close eye on its progress.”
Brazil announced last month that it intends to break patents on AIDS drugs, demanding that U.S. companies forfeit their intellectual property rights, opening the door for further intellectual property abuses.
A withdrawal of Brazil’s preferred trade status under the Generalized System of Preferences would send a strong message to the government of Brazil, which has relied on its special duty-free trade status to develop into the world’s 11th largest economy.
Defenders of Property Rights was founded in 1991 to counterbalance the governmental threat to private property as a result of a broad range of regulations.
They say they believe that society can achieve important social objectives such as protection of our environment and preservation of our national heritage without destroying private property rights or undermining free market principles.
Defenders of Property Rights