So the Philippines put in a petition seeking removal from the Watch List this year, citing its government’s concerted efforts at protecting IP rights. They pointed to several activities including a number of training seminars, workshops and summits held to focus on IPR protection. They referred to an ongoing enforcement initiative which led to increased fake product seizures.
In early May the USTR's report will help understand the effect of these efforts, whether they have translated into real changes on the ground. Will Philippines Customs still be largely ineffective at stopping fakes? Will the new rules of procedure speed up criminal trials. Will the authorities conduct raids more quickly and effectively? These are some of the questions raised.
The USTR's Special 301 review causes much anger because it seems to be a stick, a high and mighty complaint about others' imperfections. But if governments do make efforts in consequence as the Philippines is doing then perhaps it does achieve its goals.