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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        21  April 2011

Piracy damaging Vietnamese economy

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Greater awareness of the real impacts of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations is key to fighting piracy and counterfeiting, experts said at a workshop yesterday.

Those who engage in violations as well as those who support them by buying counterfeit products should know that they harm the economy, businesses as well as a majority of the consumers, they said.

IPR violation was a major hazard for honest businesses, consumers and national economies in terms of loss of sales, loss of competitive standards, low quality and risk to consumers, said Prof. Laurent Manderieux of Italy's Bocconi University.

"For national economies, losses due to IPR violations include losses to public revenue, reduction in technology transfer from foreign investors, lower labour standards and skills, and threats to national heritage and cultural diversity," he said.

Manderieux, a senior expert to the EU-Viet Nam Multilateral Trade Assistance Project (MUTRAP III), was addressing a workshop on IPR enforcement held by MUTRAP III, the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Viet Nam Association for Anti-counterfeiting and Trademark Protection in HCM City.

Experts at the workshop said Vietnam had a firm institutional base for dealing with IPR violations.

Vietnam was a signatory to the Paris (protection of industrial property), Madrid (international registration of trademarks) and Berne (protection of art works) conventions and other bilateral and multilateral agreements on IPR, thus fighting the violations was an essential task, said Nguyen Cam Tu, deputy minister of Industry and Trade.

He said Vietnam needed to focus on perfecting the legal system and implementing a strong campaign to raise public awareness on IPR enforcement.

Tran Huu Huynh, deputy general secretary of VCCI, said that the country had a relatively firm legal system but there was a great distance between the laws and their enforcement.

"I can say that public awareness of IPR is rather high, reflected in rising number of registration petitions for IPR, more enrolment in universities for IPR study and thousands of stories in newspapers against counterfeiting and piracy," Huynh said.

Hoang Cong Son of HCM City's Market Watch Bureau agreed with Huynh, saying businesses and consumers should join hands in tackling IPR violations actively.

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