The summary statement from the Mexico ACTA talks has been posted online. As predicted, it is a bland statement confirming discussions on civil enforcement, border measures, and Internet issues. It also includes the usual discussion around transparency and the desire to conclude ACTA in 2010.
Archive for January, 2010
The 7th round of ACTA negotiations will conclude around lunch time today in Mexico. If past meetings are any indication, a few hours later the participating countries will issue a bland statement thanking the host Mexican government, discussing the progress on civil enforcement, border measures, and the Internet as well as noting the transparency discussions and the continued desire to address the issue. The release will then conclude by looking forward to the next meeting in Wellington, New Zealand in April.
As this five part series (Part One on substance, Part Two on leaks, Part Three on transparency, and Part Four on local implementations) demonstrates, however, there are ongoing concerns with both the process and substance of ACTA. From a process perspective, the negotiations remain far more secretive than other international agreements. From a substantive viewpoint, ACTA could result in dramatic reforms in many participating countries. Countering the momentum behind ACTA will require many to speak out.
This admittedly feels like a daunting task given the powerful interests that are committed to seeing ACTA through. That said, many have begun to speak out. This last post starts with links to a sampling of the politicians and groups that have already made ACTA one of their issues:
Questions about ACTA typically follow a familiar pattern – what is it (Part One of the ACTA Guide), do you have evidence (Part Two), why is this secret (Part Three), followed by what would ACTA do to my country's laws? This fourth question is the subject of this post, Part Four of the ACTA Guide. The answer is complex since the impact of ACTA will differ for each participating country: some will require limited reforms, others very significant reforms, and yet others (particularly those not even permitted to participate) complete overhauls of their domestic laws.
That is not the answer that the participating countries have been providing. Instead, most have sought to dampen fears by implausibly claiming that ACTA will not result in any domestic changes in their own country. With that in mind, we get:
- the European Union stating "ACTA will not go further than the current EU regime for enforcement of IPRs"
- the USTR maintaining that ACTA will not rewrite U.S. law
- Australia's DFAT confirming they do not expect to see major domestic changes to Australian law as a result of the ACTA
- New Zealand stating "ACTA will not change existing standards"
- Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement assuring the House of Commons that ACTA will be subservient to domestic rules
Of course, if all of this is true, skeptics might reasonably ask why ACTA is needed at all. The truth is that ACTA will require changes in many countries that ratify the agreement. The EU Commissioner-designate for the Internal Market, Michel Barnier, recently acknowledged precisely that during hearings in Brussels. Meanwhile, U.S. lobby groups have stated that they view ACTA as a mechanism to pressure Canada into new copyright reforms.
International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan's office has responded to NDP MP Charlie Angus' public letter on ACTA. According to the Wire Report, Van Loan says that "ACTA would comply with Canadian law" and that "before acceding to any agreement, our government would need to be fully satisfied that it […]
Embassy reports on the Canada – EU Trade Agreement, which concluded the second round of talks last week (Cyndee Todgham Cherniak notes the government's "failure to communicate" on the latest round of talks). Dan Ciuriak, a former deputy chief economist at the International Trade department, expresses concern with the agreement's […]