ACTA is an attack on the WTO

India has complained in the recent TRIPS council that the ACTA provisions modify the balance of rights and obligations established by a multilateral agreement (TRIPS) covering the same domain. The secret negotiation of this plurilateral agreement by a cabal that included Australia is an attack on that balance and hence on one of the pillars of WTO.

“Countries excluded from the ACTA process have to come to recognize the serious threat it represents both substantively as well as for the future of multilateral organizations. ” Extract from Michael Geist – India Comes Out Swinging Against ACTA at WTO

This agreement was not justified by the claims made on its behalf; the allegations of copyright losses were chimeras if not frauds. Joining the talks has been a shameful turn in Australia’s trade policy which has, up to now, been marked by inclusiveness, a respect for evidence in the analysis of policy and for transparency in the representation of commercial interests.

Predictably, it seems that the proposed ACTA agreement will introduce new restrictions on trade—including an obligation to provide for seizure of goods in transit (i.e not in the commerce of the country authorizing the seizure) that are suspected of infringement of a private beneift in some other country. This commercial blagguardry will further undermine the miniscule (possibly non-existent) public benefits of TRIPS to developing countries.

India will not be alone in its objections.

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