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    No Deal (Yet) on Canada - EU Trade Agreement

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    Friday November 23, 2012
    Canada's International Trade Minister Ed Fast traveled to Brussels this week hoping to secure a deal on the Canada - EU Trade Agreement. It looks like he'll be coming home empty handed as the EU has issued a release indicating that there are still gaps on key issues. The EU's take on the talks:

    Commissioner De Gucht and Minister Fast had in-depth discussions on the trade deal and made substantial progress. Both sides will now instruct their negotiators to narrow the gaps on the outstanding issues, aiming for a deal in the coming weeks. "I am pleased that our meeting at a political level has provided the momentum needed to spur on the negotiations into the home strait. It's clear that there has been significant progress but some important work remains to be done", stated Commissioner De Gucht. 
Both Commissioner De Gucht and Minister Fast decided to meet again very shortly and to continue discussions until an agreement is reached.

    That is a far cry from a done deal with more "work to be done" and the agreement going back to the negotiators for more talks.
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    Canada Reportedly Ready to Cave on CETA Drug Patent Demands

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    Wednesday November 14, 2012
    The Canadian Press reports that Canada is ready to cave to European demands for changes to patent rules that could cost Canadians hundreds of millions of dollars in higher health care costs. The ministerial meeting on the remaining CETA issues is set for next week.

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    EU Drops Demands for Inclusion of ACTA's Criminal IP Provisions in CETA

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    Thursday November 01, 2012
    Reports this morning from EDRI, a European digital rights group, indicate that Europe has now dropped demands to include ACTA-style intellectual property criminal provisions within the Canada - EU Trade Agreement. The inclusion of IP criminal provisions in CETA was the source of considerable outrage in Europe in the aftermath of the European Parliament's rejection of ACTA in early July.  EDRI reports that the European Council obtained support over the summer from member states to drop demands for the criminal provisions, fearing those provisions could lead to a European rejection of the treaty (the Dutch government has already indicated it will not support CETA if it includes ACTA provisions).

    The removal of ACTA's criminal provisions leave only two copyright-related question marks in CETA. First, the ACTA border measures provisions have yet to be determined as they are being discussed within the context of protection for geographical indications. Second, Canada is still seeking the inclusion of criminal anti-camcording rules. Canada adopted those rules in 2007 under significant pressure from the United States. Europe resisted their inclusion within ACTA, resulting in a provision that is optional rather than mandatory. While Canada is seeking a mandatory rule, it seems likely this is a (very weak) bargaining chip, rather than a serious attempt to require criminal anti-camcording measures. Canada may drop the demand during negotiations later this month over pharmaceutical patent reform. Regardless, the European Parliament's rejection of ACTA has clearly had a significant impact on CETA as the Internet and criminal provisions are now both apparently gone in the face of widespread European opposition.
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    De Gucht Says "No Illusions" About Difficult CETA Issues

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    Wednesday October 31, 2012
    EU Commissioner Karel de Gucht says that there should be "no illusions" about the remaining difficult issues in the Canada - EU Trade Agreement, suggesting that completion by the end of the year remains uncertain. De Gucht indicated that CETA once included ACTA language, but says that has now been removed.
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