Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement will boost the fight
against counterfeiting and piracy
WASHINGTON DC - In a major
step in the fight against intellectual property rights (IPR) counterfeiting and
piracy, U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab today announced the United
States and some of its key trading partners
will seek to negotiate an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
“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,” said Ambassador Schwab.
States looks forward to partnering with many of
our key trading partners to combat this global problem. Today launches our
joint efforts to confront counterfeiters and pirates across the global
In a press conference on Capitol Hill with Members of
Congress and Ambassadors from countries who will be part of the new initiative,
Schwab explained that ACTA is a bold leadership effort among countries that
support high standards of enforcement against piracy and counterfeiting.
The participants in this effort will elaborate on a
vision, developed over the past year, for a new agreement addressing three main
areas: cooperation, best practices, and a strong legal framework for IPR
Trading partners engaged in discussions so far include
Canada, the European Union
(with its 27 Member States), Japan, Korea, Mexico, New
Zealand, and Switzerland.
The ACTA would complement the Administration’s work to
encourage other countries to meet the enforcement standards of the Agreement on
Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) under the World
Trade Organization, and to comply with other international IPR agreements.
It will not involve any changes to the TRIPS Agreement. Rather, the goal
is to set a new, higher benchmark for enforcement that countries can join on a
voluntary basis. The negotiations represent a cooperative effort by the
governments involved, and will not be conducted as part of any international
Schwab said the United States and its ACTA partners
will work closely to complete the new agreement as quickly as possible.
She added that she expects other trading partners to join in the emerging
consensus for stronger IPR enforcement and stressed that all countries,
including developing countries, have a major stake in fighting counterfeiting
Counterfeiting and piracy threaten U.S. jobs and economic growth, striking at the
reputation of U.S. brands and
stealing the products of U.S. creativity and innovation.
Industry loss estimates run into hundreds of billions of dollars. It poses
a similar threat to U.S. trading partners around the
world. Developing countries are among the biggest victims, as
counterfeiters passing off shoddy and unsafe goods undermine emerging local
The envisioned ACTA will include commitments in three
areas: (1) strengthening international cooperation, (2) improving enforcement
practices, and (3) providing a strong legal framework for IPR enforcement.
No precise deadline has been agreed for conclusion of negotiations, but the
concepts have been vetted with multiple countries and the U.S. Government is
eager to move ahead as quickly as possible.
The ACTA will complement a wide range of other trade
policy tools that USTR and other agencies use as part of our long-standing and
enduring efforts to help protect U.S. intellectual property overseas, working in
cooperation with our foreign trading partners and with U.S. right holders.
These tools include U.S. free
trade agreements, negotiation of Trade and Investment Framework Agreements
(TIFAs), WTO accession negotiations, bilateral discussions of IP issues, the
Special 301 process, U.S. preference programs, and dispute
The ACTA will complement the Administration’s on-going
work to address IPR piracy. Under the STOP! initiative, announced in
October 2004, the Administration has been working to step up the fight against
this illegal activity, including strengthening cooperation with trading
partners. STOP! is a comprehensive initiative to fight global piracy by
systematically dismantling piracy networks, blocking counterfeits at our
borders, helping American businesses secure and enforce their rights around the
world, and collaborating with our trading partners to ensure the fight against
fakes is global. A key goal of STOP! is to aggressively engage
U.S. trading partners to join our
efforts against counterfeiting and piracy.
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