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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