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Ambassador Ron Kirk Announces Plan to Move Forward With the Negotiation of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)

Washington, D.C. - Today the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that the Administration plans to move forward with the negotiation of an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) to step up the fight against global counterfeiting and piracy.

"The ACTA negotiations provide an opportunity to toughen international standards for the enforcement of intellectual property rights, making it harder for counterfeit and pirated products to enter our country, and making the world safer for the innovation and creativity that are so critical to the U.S. economy," said United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk. "As we proceed with these negotiations, we will ensure that the public is kept well informed and has further opportunities to give input."

The Obama Administration has been conducting an overall review of current and pending trade agreements, including the ACTA. Ambassador Kirk emphasized that ACTA remains an important part of the U.S. trade agenda and, accordingly, the United States is ready to continue negotiations. In keeping with President Obama's transparency goals, USTR will continue its efforts to ensure that the public is well-informed about the negotiations. In addition to the April 6 release of a detailed summary of issues under negotiation, USTR has established a dedicated ACTA page on the USTR website. Also, USTR will maintain our "open-door" policy toward all stakeholders, and will hold "town hall" meetings to engage with members of the public.

The participants in the ACTA negotiations will next meet in Morocco in July to continue their discussions with a goal of reaching an agreement in 2010. Today's announcement underscores the participants' goal of combating global infringements of intellectual property rights (IPR), particularly in the context of counterfeiting and piracy, by increasing international cooperation, strengthening the framework of practices that contribute to effective enforcement, and strengthening relevant IPR enforcement measures themselves.

BACKGROUND

Negotiations on the ACTA began in June 2008. The objective of the ACTA negotiations is to create a new, state-of-the art agreement to combat counterfeiting and piracy. The United States has been working with several trading partners, including Australia, Canada, the European Union and its 27 member states, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Switzerland, to negotiate the agreement. When it is finalized, the ACTA is intended to assist in the efforts of governments around the world to combat more effectively the proliferation of counterfeit and pirated goods, which undermines legitimate trade and the sustainable development of the world economy, and in some cases contributes to organized crime and exposes American consumers to dangerous fake products.

The U.S. approach to the legal framework provisions of ACTA has been to view the IPR enforcement provisions of recent U.S. free trade agreements as a model. Members of the public with questions about the status of the negotiations should contact Kira Alvarez, Chief Negotiator and Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Intellectual Property Enforcement at (202) 395-4510.