EP trade committee rejects meaningful TTIP amendments

April 25, 2013
By Ante

Today the European Parliament International Trade committee voted on a draft resolution on the EU – US trade agreement (TTIP / TAFTA). La Quadrature du Net summarizes it: EU Parliament Opens The Door to Copyright Repression in TAFTA.

The INTA committee could have voted meaningful amendments into the draft resolution, but declined to do that.

Intellectual property

The committee adopted this compromise amendment:

“Stresses that intellectual property is one of the driving forces of innovation and creation and a pillar of the knowledge-based economy and that the agreement should include strong protection of precisely and clearly defined areas of intellectual property rights (IPR), including geographical indications, and be consistent with international agreements; believes that other areas of divergence in IPR should be solved in line with international standards of protection;”

The words “precisely and clearly defined areas of intellectual property rights” came from an amendment proposed by Marietje Schaake and Metin Kazak. The clearly defined areas are still to be defined…

Schaake had proposed (some with other members of parliament) more amendments, which would have given guidance for the defining of areas. For instance amendment 121:

“11a. Stresses that given the rejection of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), prompted by concerns about restrictions on digital freedoms and the open internet, online copyright enforcement, as well as intermediary liability, these measures should not be included or aimed at in the TTIP agreement, neither by explicitly binding provisions nor by introducing or committing to restrictive interpretation or implementation of relevant EU law;”

But those amendments didn’t make it, “precisely and clearly defined areas of intellectual property rights” ended up empty.

Openness

What happened with openness? Marietje Schaake and Metin Kazak proposed (amendment 176):

“15. Recalls the need for continuous transparency, engagement with the stakeholders, including business, environmental, consumer, labour, civil liberties and other representatives, throughout the negotiation process, in order to ensure fact-based discussions, proportionate input from various sides and to foster public support;”

Continuous transparency (…) throughout the negotiation process, that is meaningful. Schaake and Kazak seem to have considered that there was no chance that the amendment would be adopted, they settled for compromise amendment 16:

“Recalls the need for pro-active outreach and continuous and transparent engagement by the Commission with a wide range of stakeholders, including business, environmental, agricultural, consumer, labour and other representatives, throughout the negotiation process, in order to ensure fact-based discussions, build trust in the negotiations, obtain proportionate input from various sides and foster public support by taking stakeholders’ concerns into consideration; encourages all stakeholders to actively participate and put forward initiatives and information relevant to the negotiations;”

Continuous transparency (…) throughout the negotiation process became transparent engagement by the Commission with a wide range of stakeholders. Here only the engagement by the Commission has to be transparent, that is meaningless…

Thanks to La Quadrature du Net for sharing the compromise amendments (not published by the European Parliament) and the voting results with me. As the voting lists are not made public, the votes are very hard to follow, and as the compromise amendments are not published, the votes are impossible to follow.

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