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US Official Urges Strong Protection of Intellectual Property

A Manila City Hall employee throws pirated DVDs (Digital Video Discs) onto the path of the steamrollers as they are destroyed, file photo.
Strong intellectual property rights can mean a strong economy, a US official says.

Jeff Daigle, the deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy, told a workshop in Phnom Penh that proper protection of intellectual property rights can boost economic growth and encourage innovation.

Fake goods and pirated media cost companies billions of dollars each year, and are especially prevalent in Cambodia.

“Protecting intellectual property rights is not an easy thing to do, but it is the right thing to do,” Daigle said. “I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Ministry of Commerce for leading the charge toward effective intellectual property rights.”

Cambodia is facing “a common threat from the international trafficking of counterfeit and pirated goods, which result in negative effects to our country’s economy,” Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol said.

The courts, customs and economic police are all working toward better protecting intellectual property, he said.

However, critics say Cambodia’s endemic corruption will make such protections difficult—which in turn hurts investor confidence in the country.

“For good companies, they are still reluctant to invest in Cambodia,” said Kem Ley, an economic analyst. “They are afraid their product will be copied. And they do not trust Cambodian courts.”