The decision to remove Saudi Arabia from the "Special 301 Watch List" resulted from a review of the effectiveness of IPR protection and enforcement in the kingdom, the top US trade official said.

"Saudi Arabia has made significant progress in improving protection for intellectual property rights during the past year," said US Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

"Over the last several years, Saudi Arabia has stepped up its enforcement actions, strengthened its legal framework, and demonstrated a commitment to fostering innovation and creativity," he said.

Kirk's office publishes a "Priority Watch List" and a "Watch List" annually as required under the law to identify countries that "deny adequate and effective protection for IPR or deny fair and equitable market access for persons that rely on intellectual property protection."

Last year, the Priority Watch List comprised China, Russia, Canada, Indonesia, Algeria, Argentina, Chile, India, Israel, Pakistan, Thailand and Venezuela.

Saudi Arabia was among 33 trading partners on the lower level Watch List, meriting what the USTR office called "bilateral attention to address the underlying IPR problems."

Others were Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Jamaica, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Spain, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.