The IFPI has welcomed an agreement between the likes of the European Union, the United States and Japan to enter talks on strengthening the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

Some of the world's leading markets on Tuesday committed to a new "Anti-counterfeiting trade agreement," the goal of which is to provide a framework to help countries tackle IP theft.

On behalf of the recording industry, IFPI executive vice president Frances Moore yesterday praised EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson for ushering-in the ACTA initiative which, she says, "will send a strong message that intellectual property is one of Europe's most valuable assets. We are looking to the EU and its partners to make the fight against Internet piracy a top priority."

Participants in the ACTA project hope its membership will expand over time.