Exports to US could lose duty-free treatment
Failure to enact intellectual property rights risks our trade preferences with US
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The Minister of Industry Vreij Sabounjian met on Tuesday (September 13) with a delegation of the Syndicate of Food Industries led by George Nasraoui.

The meeting addressed the issue of renewing a protocol that exempts Lebanese exports to the U.S. from custom taxes.

Nasraoui said that the government should work to renew the protocol due to its contribution to the size of exports to the U.S.

The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) statute between Lebanon and the US expired on December 31, 2010. The protocol offers our country duty-free treatment for many of its goods exported to the U.S.

In 2010, Lebanon exported almost $38.4 million worth of products to the US duty-free under the GSP program. It constituted 45.7 percent of total exports to the U.S.

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) has recommended in its 2011 special report on Copyright Protection and Enforcement that Lebanon should remain on the Watch List in 2011.

The IIPA had also filed a petition to the U.S. Trade Representative citing three major deficiencies in the country’s protection of copyright. It said that the deficiencies in the copyright law, the failure to prosecute pirate cable TV operators, and poor enforcement efforts against piracy have resulted in Lebanon’s failure to meet the GSP standards.

To qualify for benefits under the GSP Program Lebanon should meet certain discretionary criteria, including that it
provides “adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights.”

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Date Posted: Sep 14, 2011