The fifth round of free trade negotiations between the UAE and the United States was held in Abu Dhabi on May 10, 2006. Talks on a bilateral free trade agreement started after the signature of a US-UAE Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in 2004 and are expected to wrap up in 2006. This agreement aims at enhancing the economic partnership between both countries and encouraging investment.

On an Intellectual Property level, the agreement will include clauses related to the protection of intellectual property rights. In other words, both parties are negotiating an agreement which will not only guarantee open markets in their respective countries but will also guarantee the delivery of high standards for IP protection and enforcement. Concurrently with the on-going negotiations, the government of the UAE started in 2005 a comprehensive review of its IP legislation and enforcement system within the framework of the Free Trade Agreement with the US. The review is expected to be completed soon. It is worth noting that the UAE’s efforts to promote and protect IP in recent years have been remarkable and have led to the removal of the UAE from the US “Special 301” Watch List in 2002.

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