With the next round of Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement negotiations scheduled for later this month in Lucerne, Switzerland (governments have been painfully slow this round in confirming dates, location, and agenda), the global politics behind the agreement escalated over the weekend with Indian officials acknowledging that they plan to establish a coalition of government opposed to the agreement. Reports indicate that a major concern involves the possible seizure of goods in transit, which raises access to medicines fears with the potential detention of generic pharmaceuticals.
If India is able to line up a coalition of opposition – likely allies include Brazil, China, and Egypt – this will unquestionably escalate pressure on the ACTA countries to open the process. I have previously argued that ACTA represents a major threat to WIPO and the Development Agenda. The opposition from the U.S. and E.U. on a treaty for the visually impaired at a meeting last week in Geneva provides further evidence that with IP enforcement effectively removed from within WIPO's scope, those countries will have little incentive to advance the IP development concerns of the rest of the world.
While some may suggest that the opposition provides evidence that ACTA is on the right track, the reality is that ACTA is largely designed to apply to the very countries that are now preparing to openly oppose it. There is no mechanism to "force" these countries to abide by ACTA standards. The best approach to gaining broader acceptance is to include those countries in the talks, not leave them on the outside in the hope of later pressuring them to comply with an agreement from which they were deliberately excluded.