Commerce officials pledge IP protection ramp-up
Commerce officials have vowed to work harder on intellectual property protection after Thailand remained stuck on a US watch list despite years-long efforts to tackle rampant piracy.
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) officially announced on Wednesday it would keep Thailand on its Watch List (WL) for a fourth consecutive year after taking the country off its Priority Watch List (PWL) in 2017, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said on Friday.
Thailand is among 23 countries on the list. Others include Vietnam, Pakistan, Romania, Brazil and Canada.
While Mr Jurin and his deputy Weerasak Wangsuphakijkosol said they are "satisfied" with Thailand's status, both agree the country must step up efforts to gain a better ranking.
Thailand will no longer fall onto the PWL and "we must try to escape from the Watch List in the future", said Mr Weerasak.
Accompanying the USTR's latest announcement was praise for the government's measures to prevent and suppress intellectual property violations, said Mr Jurin.
But US authorities are also worried over counterfeit products sold in physical and virtual markets.
They specified Patpong Market in Silom district in Bangkok and the popular online trading platform, shopee.co.th, for closer surveillance.
Mr Weerasak said many plans are in the pipeline to address their concerns.
Thailand is preparing to sign up to two international agreements to better protect intellectual property -- the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs and Copyright Treaty, initiated by the World Intellectual Property Organization.
The deputy ministry also vowed to continue crackdowns on wrongdoers online and offline, along with launching campaigns to educate the public on the value of intellectual property.
Mr Weerasak said law enforcement is not enough and the government needs to "motivate" more Thais to understand the importance of intellectual property protection and how to make good use of it.