June 11, 2012

Wild assumptions

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According to the “ACTA facts” website, ACTA will give the EU an enormous boost: “Economic stimulus: €50 billion in growth and 960,000 new jobs”.

That’s unexpected. According to the European Parliament INTA study, the ACTA partners already have a high level of protection of intellectual property rights, so “There does not therefore appear to be any immediate benefit from ACTA for EU citizens”.

Undeterred, the Frontier Economics and BASCAP report assumes that trade with ACTA partners will increase with 5% of 67% of all current trade with ACTA partners, that is 19 billion euro.

If the BRICS countries join, the report expects trade will increase with 10% of 67% of current trade with BRICS countries, that is 23 billion. As if the BRICS countries feel any inclination to sign ACTA.

These are assumptions based on total current trade, actual counterfeiting numbers are disregarded.

At such moments, it is good to remember what the Netherlands Court of Audit wrote in its 2010 EU Trend Report: Counterfeiting numbers have “major shortcomings”. The Court also wrote that the shortcomings are known, but still the numbers are used in public documents and for new policy. (The Trend report is in Dutch.)

The bets are open: how soon will the European Commission and politicians use the 50 billion in growth and 1 million jobs? Let me guess: just before the European Parliament ACTA vote.

Update: see also Glyn Moody

Update: and Henrik Moltke at Techdirt