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The U.S. and some of its key trading partners are pushing for an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), according U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab. The pact would focus on three primary areas: cooperation, best practices and a legal framework for enforcement of intellectual property rights. "Global counterfeiting and piracy steal billions of dollars from workers, artists and entrepreneurs each year and jeopardize the health and safety of citizens across the world," Schwab said. "The United States looks forward to partnering with many of our key trading partners to combat this global problem." Other countries said to be engaged in discussions about ACTA include Canada, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Switzerland and the 27 member states of the European Union. ACTA would work in tandem with the Administration's current efforts to encourage other countries to comply with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), under the World Trade Organization (WTO), and other international IPR agreements. The new agreement would not require any changes to TRIPS, Schwab said. Instead, the U.S. wants to set a "new, higher benchmark" for enforcement, which countries can join on a voluntary basis. Negotiations will not be conducted as part of any international organization, according to the USTR. The U.S. also pursues IPR issues under its various free trade pacts, Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFA), the WTO, bilateral discussions, the annual USTR review process known as Special 301, preference programs and dispute settlements.
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