The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has released its latest Special 301 Report, removing Uzbekistan from the Intellectual Property Watch List. Uzbekistan had been on the list since 2000.

The Special 301 Report is the “result of an annual review of the the result of an annual review of the state of intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement in U.S. trading partners around the world”. USTR has conducted this review since 1989 under the U.S. Trade Act. In the latest report, USTR evaluated over 100 trading partners, placing 20 on the Watch List and 7 on the Priority Watch List. According to USTR, inclusion on these lists indicates serious deficiencies in intellectual property rights protection.

“Uzbekistan is removed from the Watch List this year due to sustained progress on long- standing issues pertaining to IP protection and enforcement,” the report says.

USTR noted that Uzbekistan enacted new Customs Code amendments in February 2024 that introduced ex officio authority to suspend and seize counterfeit imports and exports. The country announced plans in the 2022 National Strategy for the Development of Intellectual Property to combat counterfeit goods and online piracy, and acceded in 2019 to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) and WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT), collectively known as the WIPO Internet Treaties. USTR mentioned continuous efforts since 2021 to move government agencies to licensed software.

“The United States also recognizes the continued high-level political attention to IP, including Uzbekistan’s support for and participation in the Intellectual Property Working Group under the United States-Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA),” the report noted.

USTR stated that the U.S. will continue working with Uzbekistan and will “closely monitor” implementation of the new Customs Code amendments and the continued transition to licensed software across the government. The U.S. also encourages Uzbekistan to address reported increases in the availability of counterfeit goods within the county.

Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Justice attributes the country’s removal from the list to systematic efforts.

“Today's results reflect systematic work over the past five years, which was carried out in the direction of simplifying procedures for intellectual property registration, effective protection of their rights, accession to international agreements and the development of external relations, as well as the implementation in national legislation of the requirements of the WTO agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS),” the Ministry of Justice stated.

Among Central Asian countries, only Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan were on the Watch List, the ministry added.

In addition to Uzbekistan, USTR excluded the Dominican Republic from the Watch List. Remaining on the Watch List are Algeria, Belarus, Canada, Egypt, Pakistan and Turkey. The Priority Watch List includes Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Venezuela and China.