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U.S. Removes the Philippines from the Special 301 Watch List

Washington, D.C. – The Office of the United States Trade Representative announces today that it has removed the Philippines from the Special 301 Watch List. 

USTR has determined to remove the Philippines from the Special 301 Watch List.  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.  Philippine authorities have also made laudable civil and administrative enforcement gains.  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.  

Background: Pursuant to Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended by the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 and the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (1994), under the Special 301 provisions, USTR must identify those countries that deny adequate and effective protection for intellectual property rights (IPR) or deny fair and equitable market access for persons that rely on intellectual property protection.

USTR has created a "Priority Watch List" and "Watch List" under the Special 301 provisions. A trading partner’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. Trading partners on the Priority Watch List become the focus of increased bilateral attention concerning the problem areas.