Knock-offs will go against genuine articles

Knock-offs will go against genuine articles

The Commerce Ministry will help to organise sales of genuine products at prices on a par with those of pirated goods, setting up shop in areas where copycats are rampant.

Small retailers who want to switch to selling genuine products will be asked to join the programme.

Deputy Commerce Minister Natthawut Saikua said the programme will begin next month at Chatuchak Market, with plans to expand into other problem areas.

The US Trade Representative (USTR) last year added eight "red zones" to its list of areas under scrutiny in Thailand including Chatuchak and several night markets.

Despite the Thai government declaring 2013 the Year of Intellectual Property Rights Protection, Thailand was included for a seventh straight year on the list of the world's worst intellectual property violators in a USTR report released last month.

In theory a place on the list can bring punitive trade retaliation such as special duties and sanctions, but in practice this has never happened.

The USTR remains concerned, as it was last year, that Thailand has failed to pass laws protecting intellectual property, the agency said.

In related news, Mr Natthawut said officials investigated 1,977 piracy cases and seized 422,079 items from January-February. The number of piracy cases rose by 33.7% and the number of items seized by 3%.

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