Not Learning From ACTA: IPR Protection And Enforcement Seen As 'Less Difficult Issue' For TAFTA/TTIP
from the what-do-they-know-that-we-don't? dept
Despite increasing calls for the imminent TAFTA/TTIP trade negotiations to be conducted as openly as possible, it seems likely that, as with ACTA and TPP, everything will be decided behind closed doors. That means the rest of us are forced to take our information about what is likely to happen where we can find it. For example, a new survey entitled "The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Ambitious but Achievable" (pdf), carried out by The Bertelsmann Foundation and Atlantic Council, offers some interesting thoughts on the subject. Here's the description:
The Bertelsmann Foundation and Atlantic Council surveyed more than 400 potential respondents from business, academia, government, legislatures, and the media; 120 participated in the survey. Potential participants were selected on the basis of their expertise in trade policy and familiarity with the issues at hand in the TTIP negotiations. Respondents hailed from both sides of the Atlantic, with stakeholders from Washington, Brussels and Germany heavily represented.
Even though the subtitle of the survey is "A Stakeholder Survey and Three Scenarios", that's not really true: the main stakeholder -- the public -- is not represented at all. For what it's worth, 88 per cent of respondents think that the US and EU will manage to come to an agreement, with the majority expecting a "moderate" result, rather than broader or narrower ones. The general view was that such an agreement might come into force at the end of 2016. But the section that will probably be of most interest to Techdirt readers is the following, which ranks areas in order of the likelihood they will be part of the final deal:
Perhaps surprisingly given the recent failure to ratify the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) in Europe, IPR protection and enforcement on A/V materials and software is seen as a less difficult issue by stakeholders, ranking fourth.
Indeed, that is surprising: the rejection of ACTA's measures by the European Parliament -- to say nothing of the tens of thousands of people who took to the streets of Europe -- was overwhelming: why do the "stakeholders" think this time will be different?
As well as "less difficult" issues, the survey also dicusses where respondents think there's little hope of achieving agreement:
Interestingly, an issue that touches on some similar policy provisions -- the alignment of regulations concerning data protection and privacy [--] is considered extremely difficult, ranking 15th out of 17 issues surveyed. Transatlantic regulatory process convergence is particularly challenging, deemed by experts as both one of the most difficult issues (16th out of 17) and the most important overall to the agreement. Alignment in the use of GMOs and hormone-treated agricultural products was deemed most difficult.
The first of these is no surprise: there is currently a fierce battle going on between the US and EU views on data protection, with US lobbyists using rather extreme methods to get some of their ideas adopted in the EU's Data Protection Regulation that is currently being discussed. Similarly, the gulf between US and EU views on the presence of genetically-modified organisms and hormones in the food chain is well known.
Obviously, not too much can be read into the views of a fairly small and arbitrary group of people selected by The Bertelsmann Foundation and Atlantic Council. The fact that they think re-introducing some of ACTA's ideas might be one of the "less difficult" issues for TAFTA/TTIP suggests that they are either completely out of touch, or know something that we don't -- which is precisely why it's worth reading the full document just in case they do.