The Office of the United States Trade Representative recently removed Israel from the Special 301 Report Watch List, where it had been since 2005, according to The Jerusalem Post. The listing was due to the country's patent laws, largely relating to pharmaceuticals. Teva, which is the largest company traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, is the world's biggest manufacturer of generic drugs.
Countries on the watch list are subject to increased scrutiny on trade issues, up to and including possible sanctions for intellectual property concerns.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said the decision was an "important vote of confidence by the U.S.," and said it would help Israel improve its industry and innovation worldwide.
The countries had been in negotiations over how to move forward since 2008, and signed a memorandum detailing how Israel could allay U.S. concerns in 2010. The removal of Israel from the U.S. watch list indicated the country had taken the necessary steps, including passing several laws. The Knesset recently advanced three pieces of legislation to protect "pharmaceutical test data and patent term extension, and to publish patent applications promptly after the expiration of a period of 18 months from the time an application is filed."