The Philippines loses over P500 billion annually in revenues as a result of tax evasion related to illicit trade activities, including counterfeiting, smuggling, and money laundering, according to a new report by the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TRACIT).
The report, presented this week at the IP Enforcement Summit held by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) under the theme “Strategies for a Resilient Market and Digital Space,” highlighted the country’s ongoing struggle against illicit trade.
TRACIT’s latest country report emphasized the need for stronger cooperation and enforcement mechanisms to combat illicit trade. It also highlighted the Philippines’ efforts to address these issues, including its work under the ASEAN IP Rights Action Plan (AIPRAP) and its leadership in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s Intellectual Property Rights Experts Group (APEC-IPEG).
Additionally, the report recognized IPOPHL’s commitment to protecting IP rights in the online space and highlighted initiatives to disrupt access to pirated websites and train airport personnel to spot counterfeit and pirated goods.
While the report acknowledged the presence of key IP rights measures in the Philippines, it also recommended strengthening implementation and enforcement, as well as measures to prevent the flow of illegal goods across borders, boost investments in IP rights enforcement, expedite the resolution of IP-related criminal cases, and enhance transparency and accountability.
The TRACIT report also proposed empowering consumers through awareness, improving controls in the digital environment, and promoting the creation of local private-public partnerships to address these challenges.
Overall, the report serves as a call to action for the Philippines, and other countries, to step up their efforts to combat illicit trade and protect intellectual property rights.