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Press Release

USTR Special 301 Determination for Taiwan

PR0318E | Date: 2003-05-02

On May 1, 2003, USTR released its Special 301 determinations regarding IPR protection worldwide. USTR placed Taiwan on the Priority Watch List.

USTR made particular note of Taiwan's efforts over the past year to bring its Copyright Law into compliance with its obligations under the TRIPS Agreement and other international IPR standards. The Executive Yuan recently submitted proposed Copyright Law amendments to the Legislative Yuan that would greatly strengthen copyright protection in Taiwan. AIT hopes that Taiwan will seize the opportunity to show its determination to strengthen IPR protection by passing this legislation without alteration.

The text of USTR's statement on Taiwan follows.


Taiwan declared 2002 an "Action Year for IPR" and considered new initiatives to improve legislation, strengthen enforcement, encourage speedy trials, and promote deterrent-level sentencing. In 2003 Taiwan took some concrete positive steps to bolster its enforcement capability, including expanding an interagency IPR task force to 220 people, and opening warehouses to store seized pirated goods and manufacturing equipment. The administration also introduced for consideration by its legislature an amended copyright law meant to strengthen protection of IPR and bring Taiwan into compliance with its obligations under the TRIPS Agreement and other international IPR standards. However, these positive steps towards improving process have not produced results, and piracy and counterfeiting levels remain unacceptably high. Taiwan is one of the largest sources of pirated optical media products in the world and corporate end-user piracy and trademark counterfeiting are at high levels. U.S. companies continue to report significant problems in protecting and enforcing their IPR. Official raids are hampered by lack of expertise and poor interagency coordination; resulting penalties are neither timely nor strong enough to deter infringement. The lax protection of IPR, including lack of enforcement against piracy and trademark counterfeiting in Taiwan therefore remains a serious concern for the U.S. Government. The United States will continue our dialogue with Taiwan on the protection and enforcement of IPR during the coming year to help improve the situation.