The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on $75 million worth of metals, footwear and other goods from Ukraine in retaliation for piracy of music compact discs and other optical media products in that country.
The action, which takes effect Jan. 23, follows repeated U.S. warnings over the past two years that Ukraine could face sanctions unless it cracked down on the illegal copying.
“The United States is moving forcefully to protect its rights,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said in a statement. “We hope Ukraine will now redouble its efforts to deal with intellectual property rights and pass the legislation needed to allow us to lift sanctions.”
The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said the $75 million in sanctions was equal to its estimate of the amount of U.S. industry losses caused each year by the piracy.
Zoellick also warned Ukraine would find it difficult to become a member of the World Trade Organization unless it addresses the issue.
“Without adequate intellectual property rights legislation, it is difficult to see how Ukraine can address either America’s concerns or WTO rules,” Zoellick said.
Ukraine has hoped to join the WTO by the end of 2002.
In recent months, legislation to require all Ukrainian CD producers to secure a production license has been moving through the Ukrainian legislature.
But the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said Ukrainian piracy of sound recordings, movie DVDs and computer CD-ROMs has continued unabated.