EU member states may not have a veto on TTIP / TAFTA

After the negotiations, the EU member states may not have a veto on the proposed trade agreement with the US (TTIP / TAFTA). I wrote earlier about some issues with the EU draft mandate for the EU – US trade agreement. In addition, I note that the draft TTIP mandate (pdf) does not mention criminal measures. Criminal measures were the reason that the EU member states had a veto on ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement). With ACTA, the member states negotiated the criminal measures.

EP trade committee rejects meaningful TTIP amendments

Today the European Parliament International Trade committee voted on a draft resolution on the EU – US trade agreement (TTIP / TAFTA). La Quadrature du Net summarizes it: EU Parliament Opens The Door to Copyright Repression in TAFTA. The INTA committee could have voted meaningful amendments into the draft resolution, but declined to do that. Intellectual property

The committee adopted this compromise amendment:

“Stresses that intellectual property is one of the driving forces of innovation and creation and a pillar of the knowledge-based economy and that the agreement should include strong protection of precisely and clearly defined areas of intellectual property rights (IPR), including geographical indications, and be consistent with international agreements; believes that other areas of divergence in IPR should be solved in line with international standards of protection;”

The words “precisely and clearly defined areas of intellectual property rights” came from an amendment proposed by Marietje Schaake and Metin Kazak. The clearly defined areas are still to be defined…

FFII letter to European Parliament Trade committee on agreement with US

Today the FFII sent a letter to the European Parliament committee on International Trade. Thursday 25 April 2013 the committee will vote on 198 amendments to a draft resolution on the EU – US trade agreement (TTIP / TAFTA)

Text as pdf, or below:

22 April 2013

Dear Members of the International Trade committee,

We are writing to express our concerns with the proposed trade agreement with the US (TTIP). We invite you to take our concerns into account when voting on the amendments to the draft resolution on the TTIP. In this letter we argue that citizens have a right to openness; that all measures in the agreement have to fully respect our rights enshrined in human rights instruments, including the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; that the agreement has to exclude intellectual property rights; and that the Parliament has to step in and defend democracy and the Treaties by excluding investor to state dispute settlement from the agreement. Openness

The agreement will mostly attempt to deeply integrate EU and US laws, as the trade tariffs between the EU and US are already low.

198 amendments to European Parliament TTIP / TAFTA resolution

25 April at 10 am, the European Parliament International Trade committee will vote on a draft resolution on the proposed EU – US trade agreement (TAFTA / TTIP). There are 198 amendments, on many subjects, like intellectual property out (especially from amendment 114), others aim at stronger IP, investor – state dispute resolution out (amendments 163, 164), more transparency. Some mention ACTA. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2009_2014/organes/inta/inta_20130424_0900.htm
agenda at the top, amendments at the bottom. See also Issues with EU draft mandate for the EU – US trade agreement
http://acta.ffii.org/?p=1773

German Bundestag challenges European software patenting

Berlin, 18 April 2013 — A cross-partisan Deutsche Bundestag resolution on software patenting received its plenary first reading. The resolution asks for changes to the controversial granting of software patents by patent institutions. The resolution follows up on an earlier resolution from 2005 and sents a forceful German message to Commissioner Michel Barnier. Brussels is asked to take action on a clarification concerning the overlap of software copyright with patent law. The Bundestag which unlike the European Parliament enjoys a right of legislative initiative threatens to take national action.

Text of trade agreement with Singapore will be published before the summer

Last week I wrote that the trade agreement with Singapore will be secret until it enters into force. The statement was based on an email from EU Trade Spokesperson John Clancy. It turns out this is not correct, the text will be published before the summer. When I first contacted Mr Clancy, the FFII email server was down. I used a personal email address.

Trade agreement with Singapore secret until it enters into force

Update: Text of trade agreement with Singapore will be published before the summer

==========================================================

(FFII press release) Text also below:

Brussels, 12 April 2013 — The EU Commission decided to keep the trade agreement with Singapore secret until it enters into force. With this decision the Commission betrays European citizens and democracy, according to the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII). In December 2012 EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang completed final negotiations on a free trade agreement between the European Union and Singapore. The FFII wanted to analyse whether the text of the agreement is compatible with human rights enshrined in the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The FFII noted the Commission had not published the text and asked where it could be found.

Issues with EU draft mandate for the EU – US trade agreement

Inside U.S. Trade obtained the draft EU mandate for the EU – US trade agreement (TTIP / TAFTA) (pdf), this is the proposal the Commission sent to the Council for a mandate to start the negotiations. I note 6 issues here. Copyright and patents

The agreement will include intellectual property rights. This is wrong, as there is a deep divide in our societies over intellectual property rights. Exclusive rights on knowledge and culture harm access to knowledge and culture.