Amend ACTA: Participation in the ACTA Committee

Amendment

In Chapter Five, Institutional Arrangements, ADD the following as Art. 5.1.9

9.  The Committee shall operate in an open, inclusive, and transparent manner. The shall be open to the participation of accredited intergovernmental and non governmental organizations. The committee will be governed by the WIPO General Rules of Procedure. All norm setting activities shall: be inclusive; take into account different levels of development; take into consideration a balance between costs and benefits; be a participatory process, which takes into consideration the interests and priorities of all member and non-member states and the viewpoints of other stakeholders, including accredited inter governmental organizations and non governmental organizations; and be in line with a principle of neutrality.

 

Justification

These standards are based on the participation principles of the Intellectual Property Development Agenda. They should be the same principles that govern ACTA norm setting. Unfortunately, ACTA is a process that appears designed in part of the explicit purpose of avoiding participatory rulemaking.

As currently drafted, Art. 5.1.2 grants the ACTA Committee great discretion as to implementing, enforcing , and amending the Agreement.  Art. 5.1.3 also permits the ACTA Committee to "take such other action in the exercise of its functions as the Committee may decide."  Despite this extensive grant of authority, Chapter Five does not require the ACTA Committee to disclose the contents or the proceedings of its meetings, admit non members or nongovernmental organizations, for follow other elemental rules of fair and democratic process. It appears intended to continue to deliberate in total secrecy.

Even though the membership of the ACTA Committee is limited to the 11 negotiating parties, the effects of the decisions of the ACTA Committee will affect non-party countries and the general public. Indeed, through the TRIPS most favored nation clause and aggressive use of unilateral adjudication and coercion through programs like Special 301, ACTA standards are very likely to be promoted as new international norms.

In order to truly promote equitable international cooperation, the actions of the ACTA Committee must be transparent and the Committee should accept input from non-member countries and organizations.

 

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