Following the unlikely news last week that site co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm had been arrested in Cambodia, a country rarely associated with its interest in intellectual property issues, it will perhaps be of interest that President Obama’s trade ambassador was in Cambodia on that very day.
As previously reported, Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm was arrested last week by police in Cambodia.
Svartholm was reportedly the subject of an Interpol ‘Red Notice’, an international request to “seek the location and detention, arrest or restriction of movement of a person wanted by a national jurisdiction or an international tribunal for the purpose of extradition, surrender, or similar lawful action.”
However, as stated by Cambodian authorities this weekend, he was detained following a specific request from the Swedish government.
Not only interestingly but seemingly against the odds, Cambodia also welcomed a very important visitor to the country on the day Svartholm was arrested – none other than Ambassador Ron Kirk, the United States Trade Representative and President Obama’s principal negotiator and spokesperson on trade issues.
“Ambassador Kirk and Cambodian Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh [..] announced today that the United States and Cambodia have agreed to begin exploratory discussions on a potential bilateral investment treaty (BIT),” the USTR said on Friday.
The announcement followed discussions between Kirk and Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). During the meetings Kirk reportedly “reiterated the Obama Administration’s intention to deepen and strengthen trade and investment between the United States and Southeast Asian nations.”
While “the digital economy” was a prime topic of discussion at the ASEAN meetings, earlier in the week Minister Prasidh had been discussing the issues of copyright infringement in much more detail.
On Tuesday, ASEAN Economic Ministers held a meeting in Cambodia with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The meeting was chaired by Cham Prasidh and WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. On the agenda was the creation, promotion, commercialization and protection of intellectual property.
Cooperation between Cambodia and WIPO was also reviewed with a view to “integrating the country into the global economy and world trade system.”