Looking Beyond TPP: US & EU Planning More Bad IP Rules In 'US-EU Free Trade Agreement'

from the it-never-stops dept

Just a reminder: when you think you get past an attempt by certain legacy industries to shove through bad laws with questionable international trade agreements, there's always at least one (and probably more) such agreements lurking. So, from ACTA we went straight into TPP... and following TPP, it looks like the US and the EU are already discussing a new US-EU Free Trade Agreement to be worked out soon. A "working group" to get the process started put out a report about what the agreement would include... and, of course, there will be a section on "intellectual property." The USTR has made it clear over the past few years that it thinks free trade agreements are the perfect vehicle for intellectual property maximalism. This makes little sense, since intellectual property is the exact opposite of "free trade." It's whole purpose is to be a trade barrier and a monopoly. But...
Both the EU and the United States are committed to a high level of intellectual property protection, including enforcement, and cooperate extensively through the Transatlantic IPR Working Group. Both sides agree that it would not be feasible in negotiations to seek to reconcile across the board differences in the IPR obligations that each typically includes in its comprehensive trade agreements. Before the launch of any negotiations, both sides would further consult on possible approaches to deal with IPR matters in a mutually satisfactory manner.
So, at the very least, there would be some limits on what such an agreement would get into, given existing "differences," but they still seem to want to include something about "dealing with IPR matters," which can only mean ratcheting things up. It's still early, but you can bet that the legacy industry lobbyists are already well aware of this and involved in the process -- so it needs to be on everyone else's radar as well.

Oh, and both Obama and Romney have indicated they support such an agreement, so it's not like either one is better than the other going into next year.

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  1. icon
    The eejit (profile), 30 Oct 2012 @ 6:31am

    I find it highly amusing that all these things begin their lifer as "free-trade" agreements. There's no trade and there's nothing free about them. Terrorism at its finest.

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