US removes PH from piracy watch list for first time in 20 years

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With US president Barack Obama in the country for a state visit, the Philippines appears to have been ?rewarded? by the US on Monday, April 28, when the US government announced that it has removed the Philippines from its list of countries that are violating intellectual property rights.

US president Barack Obama was in the Philippines on Monday when the USTR announced that it has removed the country from piracy watch list
US president Barack Obama was in the Philippines on Monday when the USTR announced that it has removed the country from piracy watch list

This is the first time in two decades that the Philippines has exited the ?Special 301 Watch List? drawn up by the US Trade Representative (USTR).

?The Philippines has appeared on the Watch List or Priority Watch List continuously since 1994, and was first listed in 1989. In recent years, the government has enacted a series of significant legislative and regulatory reforms to enhance the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in the Philippines,? the USTR said in its website.

The US agency also noted the ?laudable civil and administrative enforcement gains? of the Philippine government.

?Although significant challenges remain, the commitment of Philippine authorities and the results achieved merit this change in status. The United States will continue to engage with the Philippines to address unresolved and future challenges,? the USTR added.

Under the ?Special 301? provisions, the USTR identifies countries that ?deny adequate and effective protection for intellectual property rights or deny fair and equitable market access for persons that rely on intellectual property protection.?

USTR created a “Priority Watch List” and “Watch List” under the Special 301 provisions. A country?s placement on the Priority Watch List or Watch List indicates that particular problems exist in that country or economy with respect to IPR protection, enforcement, or market access for persons relying on intellectual property.

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