Philippines Removed from Watch List of Countries with IPR Problems
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced April 28 that it has removed the Philippines from the Special 301 Watch List of countries experiencing particular problems with respect to intellectual property rights protection, enforcement or market access for persons relying on intellectual property. The removal has little practical effect but indicates that the Philippines is working to resolve trade irritants with the U.S., which could aid in its efforts to engage in bilateral or regional trade liberalization initiatives such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
USTR states that this change in status for the Philippines, which was first listed in 1989 and has appeared on the Watch List or Priority Watch List continuously for the last 20 years, is merited by the commitment of Philippine authorities and the results achieved. USTR explains that in recent years the government has enacted a series of significant legislative and regulatory reforms to enhance IPR protection and enforcement and has also made “laudable civil and administrative enforcement gains.” USTR adds that while “significant challenges” remain those will be addressed through bilateral engagement.