US Intellectual Property Sanctions Against Ukraine Will be Cancelled by End of 2005 DPM Rybachuk Predicts

KIEV, Ukraine -- Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Oleh Rybachuk predicts that the United States will cancel its intellectual property sanctions against Ukraine by the end of this year, following adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of the law introducing criminal responsibility for violations in export and import of laser discs. Rybachuk made this statement to Ukrainian News.

"Yes, it is possible this year. I think, it will be in autumn because now it is a summer holiday time," he said. Rybachuk noted that the adopted law may help to remove a great deal of problems in the talks with the US on Ukraine's accession to the World Trade Organization and rendering Ukraine a full market economy status (in antidumping investigations).

"Most of the problems [in the talks with the US] were related to a demonstrative unwillingness of the old Ukrainian government to pass the law that attributes intellectual piracy to a crime," the deputy prime minister said.

Rybachuk added that the US revises its black list of countries uncooperative in the efforts against intellectual piracy every year (in April), but still it made Ukraine believe that it is ready to remove Ukraine from the list if it will show progress in this issue.

Today Ukraine has no need to submit an official application for revision of the US black list decision in relation to Ukraine, and the talks will be conducted at the expert and diplomatic level, Rybachuk opined.

"It has been envisaged. Now it is up to diplomacy. There will be no loud declarations, it is an expected reaction [of the US]," he said.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Rybachuk believes that changes in the legislation on laser disks in accordance with WTO requirements are a compulsory precondition for WTO entry.

The Verkhovna Rada amended the law on laser discs on July 6. The law makes amendments to the Criminal Code, the Law "On Peculiarities of State Regulation of Business Activity, Connected with Production, Export, Import of Discs for Laser Reading Systems," and the Law "On Licensing of Certain Types of Business Activity."

In April 2001, the US government imposed prohibitive tariffs on USD-75-million worth of imports from Ukraine because of its failure to enact legislation to crack down on sound recording and optical media piracy.

On April 29 of this year, the US kept Ukraine on its Special 301 Report of countries having problems with fulfillment of intellectual property rights (IPR) and preserved trade sanctions with respect to Ukraine. Special 301 Report for 2005 lists a total of 52 countries or economies for IPR-related problems.

Moreover, Ukraine is the only country designated a "priority foreign country" (showing highest level of infringements) and remains subject to trade sanctions. The US Trade Representative announced in May 2005 that a Special 301 out-of-cycle review would be commenced in 2005 to monitor Ukraine's progress in passing amendments to its optical media law.

Source: Ukrainian News Agency