Thailand to designate 2013 as anti-piracy year


BANGKOK, Dec 21 – Thailand’s Deputy Commerce Minister Natthawut Saikua said on Friday that the government has pledged to crack down on piracy and will set up a centre to monitor the situation, as well as designate 2013 as the Year of Intellectual Property Rights’ Protection.

Mr Natthawut made his remarks following the latest report of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Results of the Special 301 Review of Notorious Markets, in which this year, Thailand’s Red Zones were still listed as notorious physical marketplaces of pirated and counterfeit goods.

The December 13 report mentioned 12 markets in Thailand in designated Red Zones, up from four markets last year. The list included markets in Phuket’s Karon and Patong beaches, Pattaya’s IT City, and Aranyaprathet’s Rongklua Market.

In the capital Chatuchak Market, MBK Centre, Siam Square, the Sukhumvit area, Patpong area, Panthip Plaza, as well as other marketplaces such as Klong Thom, Baan Mor and Saphan Lek were listed.

Mr Natthawut commented that the commerce ministry has not yet been informed of the reasons and motives of such report as Thailand has continuously put effort to crackdown on piracy.

He said the ministry will convene a meeting of concerned officials before deciding whether or not Thailand will seek more clarification on the matter from USTR.

Mr Natthawut reasserted that the Thai government has clear approaches to tackle the violations of intellectual property rights and will set up a national operations centre to crackdown on piracy, as well as announce 2013 as intellectual property protection year.

Apart from the crackdown, Mr Natthawut said the education ministry will lay out an anti-piracy curriculum among Thai youth.

The minister said he has instructed concerned agencies to closely monitor piracy in designated Red Zones during the festive New Year celebrations and those who are found guilty will be prosecuted.

Mr Natthawut said the National Police Bureau, the Customs Department and Department of Special investigation made arrests in 8,416 piracy-related cases during the first nine months of 2012, with more than six million items impounded.

The minister pledged that the government will do its best to make the United States remove Thailand from the Priority Watch List which is due to be announced in April next year.