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Alibaba marketplace stays on US government piracy blacklist

April 25, 2019
FILE - In this Nov. 11, 2018, file photo, Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group speaks to journalists during Alibaba's 11.11 Global Shopping Festival also known as Singles Day in Shanghai, China. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group remains on the U.S. government’s annual list of “notorious markets’’ that peddle counterfeit products. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group remains on the U.S. government’s annual list of “notorious markets” that peddle counterfeit products.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Thursday that Alibaba’s on-line marketplace Taobao.com continues sell “high volumes” of pirated goods, according to companies that say they’ve been victimized. It also said that Alibaba has “ineffective” procedures for removing counterfeit products.

In a statement, Alibaba said that “we do not agree” with the trade representative’s decision. Alibaba noted that even the U.S. report recognized Alibaba’s efforts to work with companies to protect intellectual property.

“We will continue to wage this fight against counterfeiters,” the company said.

The trade office also added Saudi Arabia to its yearly “priority watchlist” of countries that don’t adequately protect intellectual property, citing its failure to shield pharmaceuticals from counterfeit competition and the continued piracy of movies and television shows on the BeoutQ service. Also on the priority list this year are Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Ukraine and Venezuela.

Canada and Colombia this year were removed from the blacklist. Canada agreed last year to upgrade intellectual property protection as part of a renegotiated North America free trade agreement with the United States and Canada. Colombia updated its copyright law and improved intellectual property protection.

China, including its autonomous region Hong Kong, continues to account for vast majority of seizes of counterfeit goods by U.S. Customs, the trade office noted.

The watchlist and notorious markets blacklist are published annually and are not directly connected to a yearlong trade dispute between the United States and China.

The world’s two biggest economies have slapped import taxes on $360 billion worth of each other’s goods. They are fighting over U.S. allegations that China steals trade secrets, coerces U.S. and other foreign firms to hand over sensitive technology and unfairly subsidizes its own tech companies in an aggressive push to supplant U.S. technological dominance.

Talks to end the dispute are scheduled to resume next week in Beijing.

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