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Michael Geist's Blog

U.S. Seeks to Revive ACTA Without European Support

The Canadian introduction of Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement compliance legislation on Friday appears to have come in direct response to a new U.S.-led effort to revive the discredited treaty. When the European Parliament overwhelmingly voted to reject ACTA last July, many declared it dead. But is not dead yet: it is badly damaged and will seemingly never achieve the goals of its supporters as a model for other countries to adopt and to emerge as a new global standard for IP enforcement. But for the U.S., which spent years pressuring ACTA participants to strike a deal, the strategy now appears to revive the agreement by at least garnering the necessary six ratifications for it to take effect.

The current ACTA signatories are Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and the U.S. The European Union and Switzerland are out. Japan formally acceded in October 2012, which means the U.S. must find four more countries out of the remaining seven for ACTA to take effect.  Canada is a clear target, as evidenced by the USTR 2013 Trade Policy Agenda released on Friday.
It states:

The United States continues to encourage Canada to provide for deterrent level sentences to be imposed for IPR violations, as well as meet its Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) obligations by providing its customs officials with ex officio authority to stop the transit of counterfeit and pirated products through its territory.

Canada has no ACTA "obligations" - how could it given that the treaty is not in force and Canada has not ratified it - but the U.S. pressure paid quick dividends with the introduction of Bill C-56, which is clearly designed to put Canada into a position to ratify the agreement.

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