Wed, Dec 08, 2004 - Page 10 News List

US may remove Taiwan from watch list by month's end

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan is confident that the US will remove Taiwan from its Special 301 priority watch list monitoring intellectual property rights (IPR) violations by the end of this month, Jack Lu (盧文祥), deputy director-general of Intellectual Property Office, said yesterday.

"We expected the US to announce the removal of Taiwan from the watch list by the month's end ? considering the nation's significant improvement in IPR protection," Lu said.

The Taipei Times reported last week that sources at the US Trade Representative's office expected the US might take Taiwan off the priority watch list of intellectual property rights violators as early as tomorrow.

"We cannot confirm the time but it is likely and reasonable for this [the removal] to be announced by [tomorrow," Lu said.

Several foreign trade groups and companies, including the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei, the Motion Picture Association of America and Microsoft Corp, have voiced support for Taiwan's removal from the Special 301 priority watch list, Lu said.

Taiwan's piracy rate dropped to 43 percent last year from 53 percent the previous year, marking the largest decrease worldwide, he said, citing the Business Software Alliance's statistics.

The US, however, has expressed concerns over Taiwan's handling of IPR in cyberspace, including damage to music copyright through online file-sharing activities, despite acknowledging Taiwan's improvement in IPR protection during talks on a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in Washington last week, Lu said.

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