The US is holding talks with GCC officials about ending the sale of illegally copied US books, tapes and products in the Gulf. Peter Allgeier, heading a US Trade Representative team, met UAE Commerce Minister Said Ghobash on 11 January, and the team, with US Commerce Secretary Rob Brown, will meet GCC officials in Riyadh on 16 and 17 January. Copyright infringements in Saudi Arabia and the UAE alone cost US industry $117 million-156 million a year, Reuters quotes economists as saying.

Protection for US products under the GCC’s fledgling intellectual property rights laws, which cover copyrights, trademarks and patents, will be negotiated in Riyadh. The team will also discuss Saudi Arabia’s plan to join the Universal Copyright Convention, which issues uniform standards to protect literary and artistic works from piracy.