SA exports to US at risk
On Friday 25 October 2019 the office of the US Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced that the United States plans to review South Africa’s continued eligibility under the Generalised System of Preference (“GSP”).
Under the United States’ GSP countries benefit from tariff reductions and tariff eliminations on numerous products being imported into the United States.
The USTR has accepted a petition from the International Intellectual Property Alliance which expresses concern over South Africa’s compliance with GSP intellectual property criteria, in the area of copyright protection and enforcement. In order for a country to remain eligible under the GSP regime, that country needs to adhere to certain criteria, amongst others, the protection of intellectual property.
The International Intellectual Property Alliance, which represents five trade bodies, the Association of American Publishers, the Entertainment Software Association, the Independent Film & Television Alliance, the Recording Industry Association of America, and the American Motion Picture Association, is concerned that the companies it represents stand to lose money when South Africa loosens its copyright regime. According to the International Intellectual Property Alliance South Africa the proposed Copyright Amendment Bill and Performers Protection Amendment Bill , which are awaiting President Ramaphosa’s signature, would violate South Africa’s international obligations, including the Berne Convention on the Protection of Literary and Artistic works (the “Berne Convention”) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (the TRIPS Agreement).
The USTR is yet to announce dates for a public hearing and comment period for GSP legibility review.
© Trade Law Chambers 2019