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Thailand, US argue copyright

Bangkok Post

Thailand, US argue copyright

13 January 2006

Chiang Mai (TNA) - Intellectual property rights protection became the latest stumbling block in the current round of negotiations for a Thai-US Free Trade Agreement today, with Thailand complaining publicly about the Americans’ stand.

The United States negotiating team has been demanding that Thailand extend protection to a range of industrial property rights, including patents and copyright, beyond that demanded by the World Trade Organisation in order to conclude the FTA pact.

In return, Thailand has said it wants the United States to recognise other types of intellectual property rights protection important to Thailand, among them traditional knowledge and safeguards against bio-piracy.

The sixth round of FTA negotiations are now in a their fourth day and come amid protests from civil society groups.

The Thai negotiating team has issued a statement expressing disappointment at what it terms the US side’s failure to address Thai concerns and its rejection of Thai proposals about intellectual property rights.

Apart from protection of traditional knowledge, Thailand wants a benefit-sharing arrangement in case of bio-resource use in patenting.

It has also called for more flexibility on the compulsory licensing of patented drugs to ensure Thais have access to affordable medicine.