Thu, Jul 22, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Envoy says Taiwan should be removed from IPR watch list

COPYRIGHT The US trade representative said he was impressed by the enhanced protection of copyright, but that more should be done

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AP

Minister of Economic Affairs Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥) said yesterday that both Taiwan and the US are considering resuming trade talks and that the nation could be removed from Washington's "Special 301" priority watch list of intellectual property rights violators.

Ho was speaking after meeting a delegation of US trade repre-sentatives led by Charles Freeman, assistant US trade representative for China affairs, yesterday afternoon.

"Freeman said he was impressed by our progress on protecting copyright. He also said he would review the relevant statistics and information to see if the US authorities would officially remove Taiwan from the priority watch list," Ho said.

Taiwan has been on the US Trade Representative office's "Special 301" priority watch list, which monitors violations of intellectual property rights, for the fourth year in a row, despite the value of counterfeit goods from Taiwan seized by the US Customs Service plunging from US$26.5 million in 2002 to just US$610,000 last year.

During yesterday's meeting, both sides expressed willingness to resume talks on signing a Taiwan-US trade and investment framework agreement, which would be a stepping stone to a free trade agreement between the two countries, Ho said.

Freeman said that it was premature to talk about a free trade agreement, "given where we are."

Freeman said that Taiwan has recently showed a new willingness to resolve trade friction that has made it difficult to improve economic ties with the US for the past 10 years.

He said that over the past several months, Taiwan seems to have shown "genuine interest and willingness" to resolve the problems.

Washington wants Taiwan to do a better job of cracking down on those who violate intellectual property rights.

"There is still an enforcement gap," Freeman said.

The US also demands improved access to the Taiwanese market for US pharmaceutical companies, he said.

Freeman said that Taiwan also needs to create an agricultural importation system that would further open up its markets to US rice farmers.

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