ACTA Talks Resume in DC

Trade The latest round of all-hands talks on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) kicks of in Washington, DC today just 47 days after the conclusion of the last round in Lucerne, Switzerland. The talks are scheduled to run through Friday, according to an agenda posted by the Canadian trade ministry. The scheduling of a new full round of talks so soon after the conclusion of the last round suggests the discussions may be entering the home stretch. With the U.S. operating on its home turf, this week could be a make or break week for issues on the U.S. wish list.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says it has “high hopes that the negotiating partners stay committed in efforts to conclude a strong ACTA in 2010.” Whether it will include the digital enforcement mechanisms favored by the U.S., however, remains very much in question. In the last round, the U.S. appeared to soften its stance on circumventing technical protection measures, but whether that was a complete capitulation or merely a tactical retreat is unclear. The U.S. position on digital locks is opposed by the European Union, which has been dropping hints it could walk from the negotiations (although not over the digital issues), which could scuttle the whole thing.

In any case, the agenda lists enforcement measures and digital issues as the first two topics to be discussed in plenary sessions and then to continue in breakout sessions if necessary. The meetings will be held at the White House Conference Center adjacent to Lafayette Park.