A number of Thai exports to the United States are expected to lose tariff privileges today, when the U.S. places Thailand on its intellectual-property Priority Watch List.  Local analysts say the kingdom will be downgraded because of conflicts between the Public Health Ministry and U.S. drug companies following Thailand’s decision to invoke World Trade Organization rules allowing it override patent protection on selected drugs, as well as worsening copyright violation of audio-visual products such as audio CDs, DVDs and computer software. In recent months, U.S. companies and trade groups, including Levi Strauss, Philip Morris, the Cable Broadcasting Satellite Association of Asia, and the American Apparel and Footwear Association, have urged Washington to punish Thailand for failing to halt product counterfeiting. The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok is scheduled to hold a news conference later today to announce the downgrade.
The Nation