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EU, US plan to fight trade in knockoffs

BRUSSELS -- The European Union and the United States plan to jointly tackle the traffic in fake luxury items, pirated music, and counterfeit medicines with a deal to be signed tomorrow to help improve the protection of intellectual property rights in countries such as China and Russia.

The 25-nation EU bloc plans to work with the United States to train customs officials, exchange information, and send antipiracy specialists to countries where counterfeiting is rife.

The EU warns that countries that tolerate counterfeit goods could lose out on foreign investment and trade.

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and EU industry chief Guenter Verheugen plan to sign the antipiracy strategy tomorrow, and President Bush and European leaders are to give it their backing Wednesday at an EU-US summit in Vienna.

Initial efforts will focus on working with China and Russia, the EU said, but the plan also includes other countries in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

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