WASHINGTON: Kuwait, China, Russia and India are among 11 countries targeted by the Obama administration for leaving American producers of music, movies and other copyrighted material open to rampant piracy. The US is placing the 11 countries on a “priority watch list” that subjects them to extra scrutiny and could lead to sanctions if the US brings cases to the World Trade Organization. Also on the list again are Algeria, Argentina, Chile, Indonesia, Thailand, Ukraine and Venezuela.
Ecuador and Pakistan were removed from the list this year. Ecuador reinstated criminal penalties for large-scale counterfeiting. Pakistan set up intellectual property courts. The United States studied 73 trading partners for the annual Special 301 Report. In addition to the 11 countries on the priority list, another 23 made the “watch list” and need to address problems protecting intellectual property rights, the US Trade Representative’s office said. Switzerland, for example, “is generally a strong partner” on intellectual property issues, but has become a haven for websites that sell counterfeit goods. – AP