Steve Verheul, the lead Canadian negotiator for the Canada – EU Trade Agreement, provided an update on the CETA negotiations last week on a call with civil society groups. My first post on the call included an update on the timing of future rounds, the lack of transparency with the negotiations, and the state of patents in CETA. This post focuses on the link between CETA and ACTA. During the call, I had the opportunity to directly raise the issue of the inclusion of ACTA provisions within CETA and ask for comment on the European Commission claims that the IP chapter will ultimately look much like the EU – South Korea FTA.
The Canadian response provided a different take from the European Commission. On the issue of ACTA provisions within CETA, Verheul confirmed that the ACTA Internet provider provision had been removed and that the EU was re-evaluating what it hopes to achieve in light of the European Parliament’s rejection of ACTA last month. However, Verheul noted that the ACTA criminal provisions were still very much in play and that the European Commission was seeking support from the member states. Since Canada signed ACTA, it may be willing to support the inclusion of ACTA provisions.
Further, Verheul denied claims that the IP chapter would ultimately look like the EU – South Korea FTA. He stated that Canada was not looking at that agreement as a model and that the final chapter would draw on several sources, including TRIPS, the WIPO Internet Treaties, domestic legislation, and ACTA. Given the lack of transparency associated with the CETA discussions (both sides insist that the draft text remain secret), the concerns that CETA may replicate ACTA appear to be very real despite the denials from the European Commission.