Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Removing the UAE from the U.S. Trade Representative’s annual watch list signifies it has set tighter protections for patents, trademarks and copyrights, which could open the door for more export opportunities.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has crossed a major hurdle in its trade relationship with the U.S. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has removed the UAE from its watch list of countries that present potential hazards in safeguarding U.S. intellectual property.
The trade office cited several steps the UAE has taken:
- The UAE has intensified inspection campaigns and now uses blockchain technology to prevent fraud and counterfeiting. In April 2021, Dubai Customs seized and recycled $272,000 USD of counterfeit goods—mostly designer bags, watches and eyeglasses. Counterfeit products confiscated in the past have included engine parts, medicine, perfume, cell phones and electronics.
- The UAE implemented more robust regulatory standards for intellectual property protection and established an infringement and enforcement framework.
- The UAE signed several international treaties for the protection of copyright work, including the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property agreement, administered by the World Trade Organization.
- Efforts were made by the Ministry of Health and Prevention to resolve concerns surrounding the patent protection of pharmaceutical products.
- The country’s federal customs department began publishing annual intellectual property enforcement statistics, increasing transparency.
- The Ajman Department of Economic Development acted to reduce the availability of counterfeit goods at the Ajman China Mall, which has been known for facilitating the flow of counterfeit products.
The news came in the U.S. Trade Representative’s Special 301 Report, an annual review of more than 100 U.S. trading partners to assess how well they protect and enforce intellectual property rights.
Twenty-three trading partners remain on the watch list, and nine countries are on the 301 Priority Watch List that marks the most significant concerns: Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Venezuela.