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U.S. WARNS 8 TRADING PARTNERS ON COPYRIGHT ISSUE

The United States will not start trade sanctions cases against any nation as part of an annual review, but eight trading partners were notified Saturday that the Clinton administration expects improvements.

The eight were put on a "priority watch list" because of failure to adequately protect American copyrights, patents and trademarks.Brazil, Greece, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey were informed that they will face special reviews in the coming year "to ensure that pressure is maintained on these countries for progress," the administration said.

The 15-nation European Union, India and South Korea also are on the list.

"I look for and expect continued progress by all countries in meeting our concerns," U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor said in a statement announcing the action.

He added that if sufficient progress is not being achieved "I will not hesitate" to start a trade sanctions case against an offending country.

U.S. law requires the administration by April 30 of each year to review foreign country practices involving the protection of American copyrights, patents and trademarks. U.S. industry claims it loses billions of dollars annually from the theft of everything from computer software programs and designer jeans to movies and music. It generally praised the action.

Last year, the administration targeted China in a trade case that was not resolved until after the United States threatened to impose punitive tariffs on more than $1 billion in Chinese imports in the largest trade sanction case in U.S. history.

Japan was put on the priority watch list because of ongoing negotiations over what the administration believes is inadequate coverage of its existing patent laws. Brazil was dropped from the priority list a year ago but was returned because of its failure to enact patent and copyright reforms.

The EU was designated because of U.S. unhappiness over a broadcast directive that limits the amount of American television programs that can be seen in Europe.