PH still on US ‘watch list’ for counterfeit goods

By: Jerry E. Esplanada, May 18th, 2012 05:24 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines remains on the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) “watch list” of countries where pirated and counterfeit goods are readily available.

A USTR report posted on the website of the US Embassy in Manila said the Philippines was on the list in 2010 and 2011.

The USTR is based in Washington, D.C., attached to the office of President of the United States.

Twenty-five other countries  are on the list this year: Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, Greece, Guatemala, Italy, Jamaica, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

On the other hand, 13 countries are on the USTR’s “priority watch list”: Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine and Venezuela.

In its “Special 301” report, an annual review of the state of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement in US trading partners around the globe, the USTR said it was “encouraged by the significant decline in the incidence of unauthorized camcording of motion pictures in (Philippine) theaters that followed the enactment of the Anti-Camcording Act of 2010.”

“Philippine officials also improved enforcement efforts, leading to the closure of at least two significant notorious markets,” the USTR said, but did not name the markets.

In a Dec. 20, 2011 report, however, the agency named the “Quiapo shopping district” in Manila as one of 15 “notorious markets (worldwide) for piracy and counterfeiting.”

According to the USTR, the Philippines “should also clarify its procedures for obtaining provisional measures, including those covering search and seizure orders.”

The agency also urged the Philippines to “enact long-pending legislation to amend its copyright law and ensure that it fully implements the WPO Internet Treaties.”

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