U.S. officials are calling Ukraine the world’s “worst abuser of intellectual property rights,” charging that Internet piracy there has gotten so bad that even government agencies are using illegal software, according to AFP. In response, U.S. trade officials said they are considering trade restrictions against Kyiv.
The charges came in the form of a watch list by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office issued 1 May. The report, which monitors the ability of international trading partners to uphold U.S. patents and copyrights, listed Ukraine as a “priority foreign country.” The designation hasn’t been used in more than a decade and would allow Washington to seek sanctions against Kyiv through the World Trade Organization, AFP reports.
In addition, U.S. officials said they are considering reinstating import duties on Ukrainian goods, according to Reuters.
In response to the new designation, Deputy Prime Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, a former ambassador to the United States, took to Twitter and borrowed from English literature to defend Ukraine’s commitment to U.S. intellectual property rights,according to Urkayinska Pravda.
“The Statement by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative reflects the situation of yesterday, not today. Now we have improvements,” Gryshchenko tweeted. “Like in Shakespeare – Much Ado About Nothing.”
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