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U.S. takes Canada off priority watch list on intellectual property

The Pacific Mall is shown in Markham, Ont., on Wednesday, January 17, 2018. The United States is moving Canada off a priority watch list of countries that it says have failed to enforce intellectual-property rights.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

OTTAWA — The United States is moving Canada off a priority watch list of countries that it says have failed to enforce intellectual-property rights.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is, however, keeping Canada on a lower-level watch list over continuing concerns with online piracy and pharmaceuticals patents.

Canada was added to the priority watch list last year along with 11 other countries, including China, India and Russia, that the U.S. deems the worst offenders when it comes to intellectual property.

The decision to take Canada off that list coincides with the signing of the new North American free-trade deal, which U.S. officials say will pave the way to better intellectual-property protections in Canada.

They also credit tougher penalties in court cases and a recent crackdown on counterfeit goods at a Toronto-area mall as evidence of a tougher stance on violators.

Despite this, U.S. officials say they remain concerned about weak protections at the border and online against counterfeit or pirated goods as well as proposed changes to drug patents.

The Canadian Press