The United States has removed the Philippines from its blacklist of countries which do not properly protect U.S. copyrights and patents, the U.S. Trade Representative said.

The Philippines had introduced laws to better protect intellectual property rights and also beefed up enforcement, the USTR said in a statement.

“Although significant challenges remain, the commitment of Philippine authorities and the results achieved merit this change in status,” the office said.

U.S. President Barack Obama and senior U.S. officials visited the Philippines on Monday as the last stop on a week-long tour of Asia.

The USTR is due to release its full report on intellectual property offenders later this week. U.S. business groups are lobbying for India to be named the top offender, the spot that Ukraine was given last year.

Since the last report came out a year ago, the United States has also removed Israel from the intellectual property “watch list.” (Reuters)