Thursday, March 05, 2009

Canada EU FTA

As I indicated on January 16, 2009, Canada seems to be lurching ahead on a Canada EU FTA with the EU. There was virtually no time for anyone to provide input before the Government's January 20, 2009 deadline. Clearly, the Government wasn't very interested in public input, having announced the consultation deadline just before Christmas.

IP, of course, is on the table in TRIPS + format. Canada can only lose on the IP front overall if IP remains on the table. We will probably have to agree to copyright term extension, ACTA, and lots of other maximalist positions. The RIAA, MPAA and their Canadian operations , CRIA and CMPDA, will, of course, be delighted.

While freer trade with Europe may be a good thing overall, and Canada needs to move beyond total dependency on trade with the USA. the IP matrix holds little hope of anything positive for Canada overall in this exercise. Europe cannot ratchet down from its largely American induced follies that have been implemented in many cases by clever US corporate and government "policy shopping."

Policy shopping is a the practice of obtaining legislation and/or treaties that would be unacceptable if initiated in the home country. However, once done, there is enormous pressure in the home country to "harmonize" to the other jurisdiction. Many believe that this is how the life + 70 Mickey Mouse term came into being in Europe, although the official excuse in the EU was harmonization to Germany's term.

Canada's only hope on this issue is to somehow try to get IP off the table. However, as is Canada's custom, we seem to have agreed at the outset to negotiate on IP issues where we cannot win overall other than maintaining the status quo, which seem to have been conceded away at the outset.

I cannot think of any important IP issue where Canada would make demands on the EU. However, on many important and controversial IP issues, the EU will probably force Canada into policies that will be clearly contrary to Canada's interest.


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