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US maintains duty-free trade for Uzbekistan

11 November 2019

Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), part of the Executive Office of the US President, has announced its decision to terminate the practice of hearings that examined the applicability of the General System of Preferences (GSP) to Uzbekistan, Trend reports citing the press service of Uzbekistan's Foreign Ministry.

"Following the consideration of the parties' submissions and the materials submitted, the Office of the US Trade Representative decided to maintain the application of duty free trade regime in Uzbekistan and to close the hearing on the issue of intellectual property," the statement said.

USTR commented that the decision to close the review procedure took into account the important steps that Uzbekistan has taken to improve the legal regime for the protection of intellectual property, including Uzbekistan's accession to the 1971 Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty of 1996.

Office representatives express their hope for the subsequent implementation of these conventions and the development of effective copyright protection mechanisms. US Presidential Administration's representatives also recognize the increased political attention at the highest level to copyright protection issues, including supporting and assisting Uzbekistan in the creation of the Central Asian Working Group in the field of intellectual property during the United States-Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council Meeting held in Tashkent in October 2018.

"We believe that these positive changes represent a critical turning point in terms of protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights in Uzbekistan. We would like to continue working with Uzbekistan so that, based on these positive steps, we support efforts that ultimately will ultimately improve the investment climate in Uzbekistan," the USTR's Office said.

In Nov. 2018, Uzbekistan's Embassy in the United States attended a hearing initiated by the Office of the US Trade Representative for the petitions of two non-governmental organizations, the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) and the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA). The petitions, citing violations of workers' rights and the lack of adequate protection of intellectual property rights, required the cessation of the application of the GSP regime in relation to Uzbekistan.

Generalized System of Preferences is a duty-free regime for importing goods into the United States, established in accordance with the 1974 Trade Act in relation to imports from developing countries. Uzbekistan was granted the beneficiary status of GSP (the right to duty-free supplies to the United States) in Aug. 1994.