USTR presses Philippines on Greenhills ‘notorious market’ status

THE United States Trade Representative (USTR) expressed an interest in continuing to work with the Philippines on counterfeit and pirated goods on sale at the Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan City.

“I know that this is not a new issue in terms of this particular shopping center. We remain very interested in working with the Philippine government to address the concerns (on the Greenhills Shopping Center),” USTR Katherine Tai said during a roundtable in Makati City last week.

The Greenhills Shopping Center was among the markets flagged by the USTR’s Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy report released on Jan. 31, which singles out online and physical markets that “reportedly engage in or facilitate substantial trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy.”  

“Currently, many of the storefronts in this mall sell counterfeit goods, including electronics, perfumes, watches, shoes, accessories, and fashion items… Rights holders report enforcement activity in the form of warning letters and subsequent suspension of business, but the targets of enforcement often evade such efforts by moving the location of their stalls,” the report said.  

“The notorious markets report is part of our IP (intellectual property) enforcement. The purpose of the report is not to embarrass our partners, but really to provide specific details where we see problems and concerns,” Ms. Tai said.  

“That then leads to our ability to focus on where the concerns are so that we can then work to make progress,” she added.

Rowel S. Barba, IP Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) director general, said in early April that the work plan to address counterfeiting and piracy in Greenhills is in the final stages of preparation.

Aside from Greenhills, Mr. Barba said the work plan will cover other establishments like Cartimar Shopping Center in Pasay City and Baclaran in Parañaque City. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave