US says Malaysia must step up anti-piracy efforts
US Deputy Secretary of Commerce David Sampson said intellectual property rights (IPR) are "critically important" to the US and called for more efforts from Malaysia, where pirated software and movies are sold openly.
"Malaysia has made progress, we appreciate that progress, but clearly there is a lot more work that needs to be done and that can be done," Sampson told reporters during a four-day visit for talks with Malaysian trade officials.
About 75 percent of the value of US publicly-traded companies lies in non-physical assets or intellectual property, and piracy is costing companies billions in revenue, he said.
"US companies are losing in the order of 250 billion dollars a year in lost sales because of intellectual property theft and counterfeiting."
Malaysia has said it will launch a special IPR court for piracy cases and is signing global IPR treaties as it prepares to meet stringent US standards.
Washington has set an ambitious timetable for the FTA to be signed, with negotiations to begin here in early June and finish by year's end.
The Bush administration then has to pass the deal through the US Congress before July 1, 2007, when its special authority to present agreements for a simple "yes or no" vote expires.
Opposition lawmakers have said the fast-tracking will disadvantage Malaysia, but Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz said it would not be railroaded into a deal.