United States has decided to keep Thailand on its Watch List (WL) for intellectual property protection for the 2nd consecutive year Thai News Agency said today (April 29).
Thailand remains on the Watch List in 2018, after an Out-of-Cycle Review between September and December 2017 resulted in moving Thailand from the Priority Watch List to the Watch List.
In December last year, Thailand was moved to the watch list (WL) from the Priority Watch List (PWL), the bottom tier, where the country had been stuck for 10 years since 2007.
The 23 other countries listed in the watch list along with Thailand are Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, Guatemala, Jamaica, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong has expressed satisfaction over the US’s decision to keep Thailand in the “Watch List” (WL) tier on IP infringements after the country just moved up from the bottom tier last year.
Engagement on IP protection and enforcement as part of the bilateral U.S.-Thailand TIFA yielded significant progress on addressing U.S. IP concerns across a range of issues, including enforcement, patents and pharmaceuticals, trademarks, and copyright.
Special 301 report of the Office of the United States Trade Representative
In addition, Thailand joined the Madrid Protocol, making it easier for U.S. companies to apply for trademarks, and took steps to address concerns regarding online piracy affecting the U.S. content industry.
However, the reports also lists remaining concerns regarding the availability of counterfeit and pirated goods, both in physical markets and online, and the United States urges Thailand to continue to improve on its provision of effective and deterrent enforcement measures.
Counterfeited and unsafe medecines
According to the USTR report Counterfeiting contributes to the proliferation of substandard, unsafe medicines that do not conform to established quality standards.
The United States notes its particular concern with the proliferation of counterfeit pharmaceuticals that are manufactured, sold, and distributed in numerous trading partners, including China, India, Indonesia, and Thailand.
Ninety percent of the value of all counterfeit pharmaceuticals seized at the U.S. border in Fiscal Year 2017 was shipped from or transshipped through four economies : China, the Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, and India.
Pandemic drives sea freight prices to record high
The Covid-19 pandemic, which initially brought global shipping to a virtual standstill, did not bode well for the industry and led to “an unprecedented drop in demand”
Thailand and EU resume FTA negotiations
Thailand and the European Union (EU) are now back in talks to establish a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), for the first time since the initiative was put on hold in 2014.
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