CETA Update: EU Pressure on IP Increases

The Department of Foreign Affairs held a briefing call yesterday on the latest round of Canada – European Union Trade Agreement negotiations held last week in Ottawa (talks are actually continuing this week since many European officials were unable to attend due to volcanic ash inspired flight cancellations).  The call was the first I have attended and I think the department should be commended for holding regular briefings that offer a full update on the negotiations.  The CETA approach is in marked contrast to ACTA, where there have been practically no briefings after negotiation rounds.

The CETA intellectual property chapter was discussed during the briefing, with officials noting that EU pressure on this particular issue was increasing.  The EU is apparently concerned with the lack of movement on the IP chapter, which is largely at a standstill.  The EU has demanded wholesale changes to Canada's IP law framework, but negotiators advised that Canada could not respond without guidance from the government.  Part of that guidance is expected to come in the form of the next copyright bill (with iPadlock Minister James Moore pushing for C-61 style lock provisions, the bill would be consistent with EU demands on anti-circumvention rules). 

Other noteworthy information include the fact that there has been little progress on geographic indications and that the EU is interested in greater telecom access but that some sticking points on the telecom chapter remain.  The next round of negotiation is scheduled for Brussels in July, followed by another round in Ottawa in October.  Further rounds are planned for January and April 2011.  More details on the call are available from the Council of Canadians site.

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