Manila, Philippines – A team from the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) will visit the Philippines to monitor and review the implementation of the amended copyright law.

Ricardo R. Blancaflor, director general of the Intellectual Property Officer of the Philippines (IPOPHL), said the special team will assess if the Philippines can be lifted from USTR’s watch list.

“We were told that a special assessment team will be coming to the country to look at the intellectual property right law implementation with the end view that, if we have complied with the copyright law, we can be lifted from the watch list,” Blancaflor said in a press conference.

US Trade Representatives are expected to evaluate the country’s progress in implementing Republic Act No. 10372 or the Intellectual Property Code especially in the formulation of the law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRRs) covering seven concerns including copyright infringement, enforcement and collective management organization.

In its 2013 Special 301 Report on IPR released last May, the USTR stated that the Philippines was retained on the watch list because of “significant concern” for piracy over the Internet.

USTR further cited “the need to strengthen criminal enforcement of IPR and to improve predictability with respect to search and seizure orders” in the country.

Meanwhile, the Philippines is expecting to exit the international watch list before the end of 2013 but Blancaflor anticipates that it will happen sooner.

“We expect this to happen as soon as the assessment team from the US Trade Representative office arrived this month [July],” Blancaflor said.

He also said that while the IRRs are still being drafted, the special team can already start checking whether the Philippine government is serious in the issuance of the rules.

Blancaflor however believes that the US team will find out that the country has complied with the implementation of the law and will eventually be lifted from the watch list.