Negotiators Get Close On ACTA, And Continue To Mislead About It
from the too-bad dept
All last week, what negotiators hoped to be the “final” round of negotiations on ACTA were taking place in Tokyo. It was odd that little was heard from the negotiations, but late Friday, word came out that an agreement was still “weeks” away, as there were still substantial differences to be worked out. However, then an announcement was released suggesting that the deal is almost done as “participants in the negotiations constructively resolved nearly all substantive issues and produced a consolidated and largely finalized text of the proposed agreement.”
Of course, in typical ACTA fashion, the statement itself was blatantly dishonest as well. It tried to claim that “all stakeholders” were heard from with the following sentence:
During the week, the Government of Japan hosted informal meetings with stakeholders, including representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and business leaders, and the participants in the ACTA negotiating round.
Except, as we detailed, that’s not being intellectually honest. For the past month, negotiators had been telling the NGOs that the meetings were starting September 27th. Then, they suddenly announced that it would actually start September 23rd, and the NGO meeting would be on the 24th. Except, by the time they announced it, it was too late for most representatives to get to Japan in time (many had booked flights for the following week), and the Japanese government refused to change the time of the meeting. Then, finally, when the meeting was held and only 2 or 3 NGOs were actually able to make it, it wasn’t so much a “meeting” as it was lunch — and, even then, all the ACTA negotiators sat together, leaving no room for the NGOs. If that’s how the negotiators “meet with stakeholders,” who represent consumer rights, you can get a sense of how much ACTA cares about consumers.
Either way, the negotiators are promising to release a final text shortly, in take-it-or-leave-it fashion. It would be nice if countries were smart enough to “leave it,” but I’m sure that there’s too much lobbying money on the table for most politicians to stand up for what’s right here.