The previous part can be seen here: Part I.
Yes, Special 301 is special, but what is rather normal?
Like each sovereign state, the US tries to use its power to encourage/pressure other countries to protect its interests as long as it honours its obligations and commitments. Or as the report states: "(..) USTR works to protect American inventiveness and creativity with all the tools of trade policy, including this Report." And since Special 301 is not incompatible with WTO, I don't see anything wrong with a USTR's assessment excercice from a legal perspective. Subjectivity is completely legitimate for a government. This time I do not share the outcry of Mike Masnick (see below) nor the indignation of my esteemed blogger colleague Shamnad Basheer of Spicy IP. However, I do share Mr Basheer's remark in his open letter to the USTR here that "[i]f your grudge is that we haven't complied with TRIPS, please feel free to take us to the WTO dispute panel." Yes, that is each WTO member's prerogative. From a Realpolitik point of view: the BRIC-countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are getting more powerful economically and might be able as a bloc to change the legal and political pressure to the other side, if they wanted to and if they would not be so divided.