John Clancy Denies ACTA CETA Connection, But Criticism Persists

After the leaking of the IP chapter of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), officials were once again on the defensive. They denied that Internet spying (one of the most contentious issues of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is no longer part of CETA. Critics, however, say that this does not mean the concern is over with now.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

The other day, we reported on a story that emerged, discussing the IP chapter of CETA being leaked. The chapter, dating clear back to last February, showed that the chapter was practically a carbon copy of ACTA in places. ACTA, if you recall, was overwhelmingly rejected in Europe last week for many reasons including the controversial provisions being replicated in CETA.

John Clancy, the European Spokesperson for Trade, took to Twitter to deny that the current version of CETA contains those similarities to ACTA.

“#CETA‬-‪#ACTA‬ comparisons are rubbish. CETA is similar to Korea FTA which has not brought about the end of free Internet” Clancy said.

Clancy also said, “#ACTA‬ internet articles 27.3 and 27.4 are not part of current ‪#CETA‬ text. The leaked text is from Feb and has changed”

Clancy also seemed to acknowledge that the rejection of ACTA did affect CETA by saying, “if you see these articles in the leaked doc it might be because in February ACTA had not yet been rejected at EU level”

Meanwhile, Michael Geist responded to these comments with the following:

The European Commission, which initially indicated that it would not respond to the posting of the leaked CETA IP chapter, has now responded by saying that the two ACTA provisions involving Internet providers have been dropped from CETA. When asked whether those were the only changes, EU Trade spokesperson John Clancy said there may be other changes but that this was the biggest one.

While the removal of the Internet provider provisions is a good step, the European Parliament’s overwhelming rejection of ACTA was the result of far more than just the Internet provider provisions. Indeed, there has been concern about digital locks, damages, criminal provisions, and border measures. All of those provisions also appeared in the February 2012 CETA draft and Clancy’s response suggest that most, if not all, remain there.

Meanwhile, Rabble found some interesting quotes by the Canadian Conservative government’s Trade Minister Ed Fast back in May discussing trade in general in the Chamber of Commerce:

You may also recall that last year I noted that there is a group out there that lacks intuition, who oppose our trade initiatives because they are fundamentally, and ideologically, opposed to trade. They are Canada’s free trade deniers.

Over the last year, they have not changed. They remain shrill, ill-informed and hopelessly enslaved by archaic ideology and the failed policies of the past. Today, they call for “fair trade,” which is their code language for “no trade.”

Their arguments are flawed, terribly flawed. For them, the old math of “imports are bad, exports are good” still applies. They are woefully ignorant of the complex and sophisticated 21st-century supply chains that drive the global economy. Of course, when your argument is weak, you resort to stretching and twisting the truth. And when confronted with the truth, you finally resort to conspiracy theories. That is the way of the anti-trade crusaders.

This “if you don’t like certain agreements, then you are against trade” attitude is certainly consistent with the recent attack ads playing on Canadian televisions where the party called opponents dangerous and against trade even though one trade agreement seemingly demands the complete forfeiture of corporate accountability to name one example.

Judging by the Canadian side of things, it looks like Europeans will have a much easier time pressuring their representatives to represent their interests. One can only hope that the Canadian governments attitude will change by the time CETA is completed. Otherwise, Canadians will be in for a very long and nasty fight just to retain some of what they fought for in the now passed copyright reform bill.

Note: For those who want a high-res version of the news picture, here it is.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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