RI removed from USTR`s IPR priority watch list

Jakarta (Antara News) - The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced on Monday (Nov 6) it had moved Indonesia from its IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) Priority Watch List to its Watch List through its Special 301 review which examines the effectiveness of IPR protection in countries around the world, an official report said.

"We are encouraged by the steps that Indonesia has taken to improve enforcement of intellectual property rights," USTR Susan C. Schwab said, according to a US Embassy press release.

"The United States urges Indonesia to build upon the foundation it has laid to make further progress on protection of IPR to achieve its own objective of attracting high-quality foreign investment and to provide more jobs and economic growth opportunities," the press release quoted Schwab as saying on Monday.

The decision to lower Indonesia from Priority Watch List to Watch List status was the result of an "Out-of-Cycle Review" (OCR) of Indonesia`s record on IPR announced last spring.

The OCR came to the conclusion that during 2006, Indonesia had supported the regulation on control of optical disks which was set to prevent the illegal spread of CD and DVD products by means of revoking the producers` licenses and raiding the pirated optical disk making facilities and the stalls selling them.

During this period, the Indonesian government`s ministerial-level National Intellectual Property Rights Task Force and its working groups coordinated IPR enforcement strategy among agencies and conducted public awareness campaigns, the release said.

Indonesia also passed a new Customs Law that gives customs officers the authority to seize goods that infringe on IPR, the statement added.

"This is a significant development which will have positive implications for Indonesia`s economy," said Assistant US Trade Representative Barbara Weisel, according to the release.

"Foreign investors often evaluate the strength of IPR protection as a key element in their investment decisions. The steps that Indonesia has taken to improve its IPR regime will enhance Indonesia`s position in the fierce competition for foreign investment in this region," the press release said.

While recognizing Indonesia`s progress, the US government`s review also concluded that sustained efforts on key IPR issues will be essential to avoid a return to the Priority Watch List.

In addition, efforts to address other critical IPR issues will be essential to demonstrate that Indonesia is serious in creating and sustaining an effective IPR enforcement regime.

Indonesia had been on the Special 301 Priority Watch List since 2001, the press release added.(*)
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