Tuesday, March 09, 2010

USTR - 2010 Trade Policy Agenda and 2009 Annual Report

The USTR submitted the Report to the US congress on March 5, 2010. In its Chapter III "Bilateral and Regional Negotiations and Agreements", the Report mentions the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Concerning the US-Japan trade relation, it says a cooperative effort to strengthen the Japanese Copyright Law which was made throught the US-Japan Regulatory Reform and Competition Policy Initiative.

According to the Initiative's annual report to the Leaders of 2009, the effort includes: restriction to the private use exception (downloading a musical work or a motion picture from an infringing source with the knowledge that the source is infringing is no longer an exception by the revised Copyright Act which passed the Diet on June 12, 2009); and typical TRIPS-plus provisions such as technical protection measures (for access control), copyright term extension, and statutory damages.

As for Korea, "Korea has been an active participant in efforts to strengthen international IPR enforcement by joining the United States and others in negotiating the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)."

In Chapter IV Other Trade Activities:

"D. Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

The United States is working to strengthen cooperation with its trading partners in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. In October 2007, USTR announced an initiative, in partnership with several key trading partners, to fight counterfeiting and piracy by seeking to negotiate an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The ACTA effort brings together a number of countries that are prepared to embrace strong intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement in a leadership group to seek a new agreement calling for cooperation, strong enforcement practices, and a strong legal framework for IPR enforcement. Participants so far have included Australia, Canada, the European Union (with its 27 Member States), Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and Switzerland. In 2008, these participants engaged in four rounds of negotiations.

Following a review in early 2009, Ambassador Ron Kirk announced on June 12, 2009 that USTR would continue to participate in the negotiations. Two negotiating rounds in Rabat, Morocco and Seoul, Korea were held in 2009.

Additionally, during the review, USTR identified additional opportunities for ensuring meaningful input and keeping the public informed about the ACTA negotiations. Accordingly, in 2009, USTR took the following steps:
  • established for the first time a dedicated ACTA web page on the USTR website;
  • issued and updated the first public summary of issues under negotiation;
  • took the new step of releasing agendas to the public on the ACTA web page before each meeting;
  • broadened the group of experts from which USTR sought advice, including representatives of intellectual property rights holders, Internet intermediaries, NGOs, and others, about prospective U.S. positions on enforcement of intellectual property rights in the digital environment;
  • consulted and shared relevant text with USTR Committees of Jurisdiction and the Judiciary Committees in both houses of the U.S. Congress concerning prospective positions; and
  • strengthened educational efforts online with links on the ACTA web page to valuable and relevant portions of past agreements, for review by anyone who is interested in understanding the U.S. approach to possible legal framework provisions of the ACTA.
USTR also won an endorsement by ACTA partners at the Seoul Round in November 2009 of the need to provide the opportunity for the public to provide meaningful and timely input into the negotiations. This lays the groundwork for cooperative transparency efforts in 2010."

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