A new report by the Canadian Agricultural Trade Policy and Competitiveness Research Network finds that the Canada- EU Trade Agreement could lead to a NAFTA complaint by the U.S. if Canada caves to European pressure to include new protection for geographical indications. The paper notes that GI protection could lead […]
Post Tagged with: "geographic indications"
Battle Lines Drawn on ACTA: EU Commissioner Says Scope is “Red Line” for Treaty
There were two ACTA events yesterday that provided the U.S. and European perspectives on latest round and future developments. EC Commissioner Karel de Gucht appeared before a European Parliament committee and provided some details on the most recent round along some pointed criticism of the U.S. position on some key issues. Some of the key points raised during de Gucht's appearance:
- The EU language on Internet may serve as compromise on that chapter
- On border issues, consensus may only reachable on basis of the "lowest common denominator"
- The U.S. position on ACTA transparency is "counter-productive"
- de Gucht believes India and Brazil are using ACTA to score political points on the generic medicines issue
- Inclusion of designs and geographic indications in ACTA is a "red line" issue. If they are not included, the EU must question the benefit of the agreement. De Gucht argues the U.S. is using trademarks for same purpose as geographic indications and it is "hypocrisy" to exclude from the agreement. He emphasized the EU "cannot swallow this" and that this will be a major point of discussion at the next round of talks.
- Next round of talks will be held in July in Washington. At least two more rounds are required rest of the year. There is a fundamental split between negotiating parties on scope. He does not expect a breakthrough in the Washington round.
EU Expresses Anger Over U.S. “Hypocrisy” on ACTA
A hearing on ACTA at the European Parliament today laid open the growing divide between the EU and the U.S. over the agreement. EU Commissioner De Gucht stated that the talks have been disappointing and that there is "slight hypocrisy from the U.S. over the protection of geographical indications." Concludes […]
ACTA Consensus on Transparency Breaks Down
The 9th round of ACTA talks concluded last week in Lucerne, Switzerland. I briefly noted the official statement last week, but a subsequent news report makes it clear that the most important development to come out of the meeting is the breakdown of a consensus on transparency. Following the New Zealand meeting in April, there was consensus achieved on the need to release a draft version of the text. It is now clear that the overwhelming majority of countries favoured continuing this approach by releasing updated versions at the conclusion of subsequent meetings. That did not happen after the Lucerne meeting, however, with both the Swiss and European Commission delegations indicating that they favoured releasing the text but that one delegation did not. It is a safe bet that the U.S. is once again the key holdout on the transparency issue.
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).