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April 26, 2010 | by  | in News | [ssba]

ACTA negotiations revealed

Public actions achieve transparency in ACTA

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) participants have publicly released a draft negotiating text, following the conclusion of the eighth round of negotiations, held recently in Wellington.

A statement by the Office of the United States Trade Representative revealed last week that in Wellington, “participants had constructive and intensive discussions, (which) provided a much improved understanding of respective national regimes and how they worked in practice”.

Participants felt that “there was a general sense from this session that negotiations have now advanced to a point where making a draft text available to the public will help the process of reaching a final agreement”, and a text could be released “which will reflect the substantial progress made at this round”.

ACTA is a plurilateral trade agreement, with aims of minimising the global trade of counterfeit goods, although the scope of the negotiations is said to include the sharing of copyrighted material over the internet.

The release of the draft negotiating text comes after a four-page document entitled The Wellington Declaration was presented to New Zealand negotiators following the PublicACTA conference.

The Wellington Declaration calls for “full transparency and public scrutiny” of the ACTA negotiations.

InternetNZ Policy Director Jordan Carter welcomed the decision, and thanked the New Zealand government for their support in calls for transparency.

“InternetNZ and many others in New Zealand’s technology, artistic and legal communities helped to focus that desire for transparency through the PublicACTA event held on April 10.

“Transparency of the process is one of the key requests that came out of PublicACTA as outlined in the Wellington Declaration. To the Government’s credit it has also been on the agenda of the New Zealand negotiators.”

Participants in the Wellington round of negotiations also agreed that the next meeting would be held in Switzerland in June 2010, and reaffirmed a commitment to continue their work with the aim of “concluding ACTA as soon as possible in 2010.

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