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International Relations Economy

How to Make Trade Easier

WTO Ministerial Conference 2011
WTO Ministerial Conference 2011. Photo: World Trade Organization/flickr.

WASHINGTON, DC – The world is now in the fourth year of the Great Recession. So far, the economies belonging to the World Trade Organization have resisted the kind of widespread protectionism that would make a bad situation much worse. But protectionist pressures are building as weary politicians hear more and more calls for economic nationalism.

The WTO’s best defense of open trade is a good offense. A new WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement would benefit all by increasing developing countries’ capacity to trade, strengthening the WTO’s development mandate, and boosting global economic growth. More than a decade after the launch of the Doha Round of global free-trade talks, this agreement could be a down payment on the commitment that WTO members have made to linking trade and development.

Categories
International Relations Technology

ACTA: Secret Anti-Piracy Negotiations Unveiled

Piracy graffiti in Sweden (cc Thobias Vemmenby)
Piracy graffiti in Sweden (cc Thobias Vemmenby)

It seems like ACTA negotiators have finally gone one step in the direction of transparency. After a week of negotiations in Wellington (NZ), they announced on Friday that the draft treaty would be made public next Wednesday. Or maybe they just learned their lesson after repeated leaks.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has been in the making for over two years behind closed doors. The new treaty aims to improve “global standards for the enforcement of [Intellectual Property Law], to more effectively combat trade in counterfeit and pirated goods,” according to the EU Commission.

As you might expect, the negotiating parties are a western club (US, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the EU and Switzerland) with a few ‘like-minded’ friends (Singapore, South Korea, Mexico, Morocco).

ACTA has faced a storm of criticism from internet users. Here is a little summary of the main issues at stake: