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Speech by PSCI at IPR Workshop (English only)

    Following is a speech by the Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology (Commerce and Industry), Miss Yvonne Choi, at the opening ceremony of the Workshop on Effective Strategies for IPR Public Education, APEC IPR Public Education and Awareness Platform today (November 8)(English only):

Mr Sivakant Tiwari, Mr Ian Goss, Ms Liew Woon-yin,

     Honoured guests from the APEC economies! It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to Hong Kong.

     Hong Kong is Asia's World City - We are a city that has carved out a niche through international trade in goods and services. Hong Kong is also a vibrant place where creativity flourishes.

     Our songs, movies and TV dramas are popular not only in Hong Kong, but also in many Asian countries. Our fashion and jewellery designs are gaining attention in an ever-widening market. We are also establishing ourselves in the fields of computer animation and movie post-production.

     Our trading and creative industries are making important contributions to our economy. It is thus easy to see that intellectual property is one of Hong Kong's cherished 'rice bowls'.

     Like everyone else in the Asia Pacific Region, protecting intellectual property in Hong Kong is a challenge. Not even the most prosperous among our economies can eradicate piracy and counterfeiting. And if enforcement in our domestic markets is not enough of a challenge, we have to deal with global trading of pirated and counterfeit goods and piracy on the Internet.

     Being a small and relatively prosperous territory, Hong Kong has been able to carry out enforcement effectively. We have a large force of Customs Officers who are specialised in working together with rights owners to crack down intellectual property infringements on a commercial scale. Hong Kong Customs also has dedicated teams to monitor Internet piracy activities round-the-clock.  

     These enforcement efforts are backed up by a comprehensive legal framework for intellectual property protection. We review our legislation from time to time to keep it in line with latest social and technological developments. At present, we are undergoing a major legislative exercise to update our copyright law. Towards the end of this year, we will launch another public consultation exercise on how we could have more effective copyright protection in the digital environment.  

     At the same time, we are mindful that just attacking the suppliers of pirated and counterfeit goods without addressing the demand side is not a sustainable policy. There was never a time or place where an activity could be eradicated, if there was an unlimited market demand for it.

     This has led us to develop an ongoing and sophisticated public education programme for Hong Kong. Our Intellectual Property Department has built up close partnership with the right owners in Hong Kong on the public education front, with a view to cultivating a culture of respect for intellectual property rights in the community. Different activities are organised ranging from sector-specific programmes such as school-based visits and business-targeted events to territory-wide campaigns such as our recent series of programmes to educate our younger generation against Internet piracy.  

     Faced with similar issues, Australia and Singapore have also spent many years and a lot of resources on designing and carrying out public education programmes. In fact, all the economies represented here today have valuable achievements in public education that we could usefully learn from. Sharing will enrich us and provide us with new stimuli.

     Today's event is particularly significant because APEC has generously supported a joint project sponsored by three economies: Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong.  

     Speaking on behalf of Hong Kong, China, I want to express, through IPEG Chairman Mr Tiwari, my warm gratitude to APEC for the support they have rendered to this symposium.  Indeed, it bears out APEC's recognition of the importance of intellectual property protection to economic development in the region.  

     I wish this symposium the greatest success.

     Thank You.

Ends/Wednesday, November 8, 2006
Issued at HKT 15:00