India may be in the US301 Priority Watch List with other countries

According to the February report of the US Trade Representative (USTR), American entertainment, pharmaceutical and software industries said they still suffered from runaway violations in Thailand. They suggested that the USTR keep Thailand on the PWL along with the other countries – Argentina, Canada, China, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Russia and Ukraine.

Pajchima Tanasanti, director-general of the Intellectual Property Department, said last week that Thailand faces a strong possibility of being included in the PWL for another year since the government failed to pass strict laws to control violations this year as expected.

"The two important bills for anti-camcording and copyrights that the US is looking forward to seeing could not pass Parliament in time. However, the acts should be promulgated this year and ensure that Thailand can be upgraded to the Watch List next year," he said.

The bills have just passed their first reading. It will take a couple of months for amendments and final approval.

Thailand was put on the PWL in 2007. If the country’s trade status remains unchanged, it would be considered a weak country for international property rights (IPR) protection for five years, which means that its exports to the United States will encounter high duties and American companies will hesitate to invest here due to the inefficiency in protecting IPR. Washington is scheduled to release its special 301 report on revisions of trade partners’ status by the end of this month.

In the USTR report, the group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America continued to raise the issues of the uncertainty of protection due to the imposition of compulsory licensing, the protection of drug patents and illicit drugs.

The USTR also found that many markets such as Panthip Plaza, Klong Thom, Saphan Lek, Baan Mo, Patpong, MBK and areas on Sukhumvit Road were still notorious for selling fake goods.

Greater abuse on the Internet has been reported in the country since Thais have gained access to more technology such as broadband and 3G. Thailand has a big problem with the illegal trading of movies and equipment, which caused losses of US$72 million (Bt2.2 billion) for the industry in 2011. More than 200 movies have been copied in the Kingdom. New types of violations were also found in Thailand such as the illegal trading of hard discs and external hard discs.

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