Thailand removed from USTR’s Priority Watch List

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has decided to move Thailand from the Special 301 Priority Watch List to the Watch List due to the country’s improving intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement.

We welcome the corrective actions that Thailand has taken and look forward to continuing to work with Thailand to resolve our remaining IP concerns, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a press release on Dec 15 announcing the conclusion and results of the Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review (OCR) of Thailand.

The Special 301 Report is the result of an annual review of the state of IP protection and enforcement in US trading partners.

Mr Lighthizer said the Trump Administration has been closely engaging with Thailand on improving IP protection and enforcement as part of the bilateral US-Thailand Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.

He cited the establishment of an interagency National Committee on Intellectual Property Policy and a subcommittee on enforcement against intellectual property infringement, led by the Prime Minister and a Deputy Prime Minister, as an example of Thailand’s commitment in IP protection.

Thailand also has been taking steps to address backlogs for patent and trademark applications, including significantly increasing the number of examiners and streamlining regulations. In addition, Thailand joined the Madrid Protocol, making it easier for US companies to apply for trademarks, and took steps to address concerns regarding online piracy affecting the US content industry, according to the USTR press release.

The USTR also lauded Thailand for improving transparency related to pharmaceutical issues, such as taking stakeholder input in the amendment of the Drug Act and providing interested stakeholders with regular consultation opportunities with the Thai Food and Drug Administration.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

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