The United States is lifting trade sanctions against the Ukraine in recognition of the
country’s latest efforts to protect intellectual property (IP) rights.
In July, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted a set of amendments to Ukraine’s
Laser-Readable Disk Law designed to strengthen the country’s licensing
regime and enforcement efforts.
“This recent legislative action by Ukraine is a key step in the right
direction,” U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Rob Portman said in a
statement. “We expect that Ukraine will use the tools created by these
amendments to crack down on illegal pirating of protected works.”
After the United States declared the Ukraine the largest producer and
exporter of pirated optical media in Europe, the Ukraine signed an agreement
in 2000 with the U.S. to curtail its optical media piracy.
In addition to serving as an international hub for illegal global street
sales, the pirated software, music and video material often makes its way to
the Internet for peer-to-peer illegal distribution.
The two principal elements of the 2000 plan involved the Ukraine immediately
using its law enforcement authority to crack down on piracy and by November of
2000 to establish an optical media-licensing regime.
When the Ukraine failed to meet either obligation, the U.S. placed it on its Priority Watch List for IP theft, a list that also includes
China and Russia. In addition it imposed 100 percent tariff sanctions on $75
million worth of Ukrainian metals, footwear and other exports to the United
The USTR calculated the $75 million figure as the amount of annual damages
that Ukrainian piracy of optical media, which includes unauthorized
licensing and production, cost Americans.
The U.S. also declared the Ukraine a Priority Foreign
Country, which cost the Ukraine its eligibility for certain preference trade
In addition to the lifting of the sanctions on Wednesday, Portman said the
United States would initiate an investigation to reconsider the Priority Foreign Country status.