Apparel companies in the US have raised concerns about the enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) as part of a review by the US Trade Representative (USTR).

In response to the review under Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974, the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) has written of its concerns about IPR enforcement in a list of countries, including Sweden, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela.

The letter focuses on a number of issues, including the fact that Sweden no longer provides contact information for internet domain holders, some of whom might be counterfeiters.

The AAFA also highlights the “burdensome and confusing” new system for recording trademarks and copyrights in Canada, and says that, while some progress has been made in China, there has been a continued increase in the number of products being counterfeited.

“Attention to these issues supports US apparel and footwear jobs, particularly since our members’ competitiveness is highly dependent upon the protection of the intellectual property embedded in their designs, their brands, and their images,” wrote Juanita Duggan, president and CEO of the AAFA.