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Last Updated:[03-09-2010 06:23:34 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

ACTA Secrecy Complicates EU – May Influence Outcome of Deal

tradenews It is out now the veil of secrecy over the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has gone one step further as the US officials blocked the EU attempts to publish the latest draft on combating counterfeits on an EU website after a Washington-based round of talks in August. The European Commission, which has been feeling the heat from lobby groups and the European Parliament for greater transparency in the negotiations, debriefed MEPs on last month's negotiations yesterday (1 September).

Incidentally, the submission by the EC contradicts the EU trade spokesman John Clancy’s claim of that there was nothing secretive. It should be recalled that he said however, he lamented the decision of one party to withhold publication of the text devised during August 20 talks.

The office of USTR released an official version in April, but did not publish updated versions after consecutive round of talks. Participants in the negotiations included Australia, Canada, and the EU, represented by the European Commission, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the US.

In March, the European Parliament defied the EU executive on 10 March, casting a vote against an agreement between the EU, the US and other major powers on combating online piracy and threatening to take legal action at the European Court of Justice. An overwhelming majority of MEPs (663 in favour and 13 against) passed a resolution criticizing the ACTA, arguing that it flouts agreed EU laws on piracy online.

ACTA is believed to unleash e-slavery to neo-colonialism as it is charted sans public scrutiny and allegedly designed to best suit the US corporate entities. Furthermore, the US-orchestrated pact slights the WIPO, the UN agency which enjoys larger support including that of China.

As reported by Toboc few months ago, the final draft will not have the endorsement of China, one of the largest counterfeit producers. Hence, looking back to past events on taking action against China in regards to infringements, the trade pact is expected to encounter similar stalemate while implementing a likely ratified deal.

The next, and as projected as final round of talks will be held in Japan this month, and the deal is expected to take effect by next year. The ACTA is one of the few things the opposing leading political parties of the US have total agreement on.

By Jose Roy

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