South Korea’s new minister of trade says his government is determined to pass legislation stiffening penalties against video and record pirates.

Chulsu Kim made his comments at a Thursday press conference after meeting with U.S. trade representative Mickey Kantor.

Pressure from U.S. groups

The remarks will come as welcome news to the U.S. motion picture and recording industries, which have been pressuring South Korea to curb rampant piracy.

Kim defended his government’s prosecution of offenders, claiming there have been “more than 2,000 raids this year” resulting in 240 arrests.

Increased penalties sought

The Korean National Assembly will be asked to “increase penalties tenfold” for copyright piracy, Kim said.

The trade minister said Korea “obviously” hopes not to be singled out for trade retaliation by the U.S. “While I cannot speak for Mr. Kantor, I feel we had a good discussion on this and we hope he appreciates fully our efforts in this area and will take the changes into account,” Kim said.

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