US keeps Thailand on its trade 'watch list'

US keeps Thailand on its trade 'watch list'

Thailand remains on the US Trade Representative's (USTR) watch list (WL) as it attempts to suppress intellectual property (IP) violations and online piracy.

Vuttikrai Leewiraphan, director-general of the Intellectual Property Department, said the USTR made the announcement in its annual Special 301 Report released on April 30.

The report details the USTR's findings for more than 100 trading partners after research and enhanced engagement with stakeholders.

"The US government admires the Thai government's and Commerce Ministry's progress in preventing IP infringement, the continuous development of IP protection and crackdowns on violations in both the offline and online markets," according to the report.

He said his department pledges to work with US agencies to build an IP work plan to remove Thailand from all US lists in the future, in line with the Thai government's commitment to develop the IP system to strengthen the trade and investment environment and enhance innovations and technology amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Protection of IP rights should lead to more Thais benefitting from IP as it will increase the country's competitiveness and economic development, said Mr Vuttikrai.

The report said Thailand continues to make progress and address concerns raised as part of the bilateral US-Thailand Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.

Thailand has seized counterfeit and pirated goods and increased efforts to combat the sale of counterfeit goods online, as well as published enforcement statistics online.

Thailand also increased efforts against online piracy, particularly through enhanced intra-agency coordination, though concerns remain, said the report.

The report found counterfeit and pirated goods are still readily available, both in physical markets and online, and the US has urged Thailand to continue improving enforcement measures.

In addition, the US has urged Thailand to ensure that amendments to its Copyright Act address concerns expressed by the US and other foreign governments and stakeholders, including overly broad technological protection measure exceptions, procedural obstacles to enforcement against unauthorised camcording, and unauthorised collective management organisations.

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