The issue was on the agenda of Tuesday’s meeting of the WTO’s TRIPs Council meeting in Geneva – which in itself caused a row between the ACTA signatories on the Council and those not party to the negotiations.
Managing IP understands that India, Venezuela, Egypt and Ecuador questioned why the issue had been tabled for discussion as an agenda item, rather than as any other business. Once a decision had been taken to keep it on the agenda, representatives from those countries that have signed the anti-counterfeiting deal defended it, saying that it would not limit freedom of expression or target generic medicines.
But India claimed that ACTA would undermine the flexibilities in the TRIPs Agreement that make it easier for developing countries to produce and export generic pharmaceuticals and referred to cases in the EU where Indian-made medicines have been seized by Customs officers in the EU.
India was not the only country to raise ACTA-related worries. Bangladesh shared its concerns about access to medicines, while China noted that many of its provisions are TRIPs-plus. The Brazilian representative repeated concerns that that the country had made before about efforts to harmonise IP rules: that one-size does not fit all.