US keeps HK on copyright watch list

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 January, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 January, 1998, 12:00am

THE Government has expressed disappointment over the United States Trade Representative's (USTR) decision to keep Hong Kong on its watch list in respect of intellectual property rights abuse.

The USTR confirmed that Hong Kong would remain on the watch list late Friday, following its mid-year review.

Noting that the USTR gave due recognition to Hong Kong's determination and effort to solve the piracy problem, a spokesman said it was not justified keeping the SAR on the watch list.

'It is not justified to include Hong Kong on the watch list, in view of the considerable and persistent anti-piracy efforts and initiatives the Government has made. We are disappointed at such an announcement,' the spokesman said.

'Hong Kong is totally committed to enforcing a robust IPR [intellectual property rights] protection regime, which is crucial to economic growth of Hong Kong and our continuation as a leading regional and global trading city.

'The Government has adopted a comprehensive strategy to combat copyright piracy.' The spokesman said that more than 4.5 million pirated discs worth more than $150 million were seized in 1997.

The watch list is one rung on the ladder lower than priority watch list, which may lead to sanctions being imposed.