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US, EU Defend ACTA Secrecy, UK Supports Transparency

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Friday February 05, 2010
Faced with mounting criticism over ACTA secrecy, officials from both the U.S. and the EU are speaking out.  In a letter to the editor at the Financial Times, the USTR's Stanford McCoy rejects the transparency concerns, claiming:

"Far from keeping them secret, governments participating in these negotiations have sought public comments, released a summary of issues under discussion, and enhanced public engagement."

Meanwhile, an EU official told EurActiv.com that media reports have oversimplified ACTA and that information has been provided to the European Parliament "whenever possible."  The EU official declined to be named due to a non-disclosure agreement.

On the other hand, UK Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills David Lammy provided the House of Commons with his government's official position on ACTA secrecy:

It is current UK policy on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to seek the agreement of our negotiating partners to publish the draft text. However, it is the practice in trade negotiations that working documents are not disclosed without the consent of all the negotiating parties. Not all parties currently agree to the release of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) draft text. My officials continue to press for greater transparency with our negotiating partners.

Not to be forgotten, Bridges Weekly reports on mounting concerns in the developing world over ACTA.  While an official from the Chamber of Commerce argues that it is not desirable to address ACTA issues at WIPO, a developing country trade diplomat acknowledges that the developing world will face pressure to adopt ACTA-like provisions and that the process sounds like "TRIPs-plus-plus-plus."
Comments (8)add comment

Eric L. said:

"Far from keeping them secret, governments participating in these negotiations have sought public comments, released a summary of issues under discussion, and enhanced public engagement."
Hmm... Wouldn't it be nice if ACTA was transparent so we could confirm this?

Stupid, stupid, stupid.
February 05, 2010

Bill M said:

Circle the wagons
I'm getting really tired of this dog & pony show. "We'd love to show you everything but other, nameless entities do not." and then make sure every coutry uses this same excuse to deflect the blame. Then there is the bald-faced lie as per Mr. McCoy. Yep, everything is out in the open and there is no tranparency issue... because he says so.
February 05, 2010

Exenteth said:

Not Surprised
I am not surprised by these statements. I am sure for them "the public" means "the stakeholders and big corporations of interest" - not the actual people of the countries that will be suffering from all this.
February 05, 2010

crade said:

...
"Far from keeping them secret, governments participating in these negotiations have sought public comments, released a summary of issues under discussion, and enhanced public engagement."

So because their have been leaks and speculation, that means governments are not keeping this secret? You couldn't come up with anything better than that? Not only is this a bald faced lie.. It isn't even plausible.. Is there actually anyone who believes this?
February 05, 2010

M said:

...
Is there an error in the title of this blog post? From reading the quote, it doesn't sounds like the UK is demanding secrecy. They claim to be supporting and requesting transparency.
February 05, 2010

Eric L. said:

RE: M
"Is there an error in the title of this blog post? From reading the quote, it doesn't sounds like the UK is demanding secrecy. They claim to be supporting and requesting transparency."

The UK is, but the EU isn't.
February 06, 2010

Michael Geist said:

Re: Title
Thanks M - good point. Title amended.
February 06, 2010

MissPirata said:

Trips Plus
In the pseudo public hearing in Mexico about ACTA a few weeks ago, Jorge Amigo, IMPI Director and lead negotiatior of ACTA in Mexico said literally: "Think this as a Trips Plus, better text, cleaner"

February 10, 2010

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