After it was hit with such a spectacular defeat in Europe, New Zealand is now saying that the country will open a public consultation on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). This comes on the heals of a surprise signing of the agreement by Mexico.
Just because the European Union overwhelmingly rejected ACTA doesn’t mean the story about the secretive agreement has ended. It’s still a big world out there outside the European Union, so it is proving interesting how the rest of the world is reacting to ACTA.
So far, the biggest surprise is Mexico. Last month, the Mexican congress rejected ACTA. When everyone thought the agreement was dead in that country, Mexico surprised everyone when it signed onto ACTA anyway.
Meanwhile, in Australia, the Australian Joint Standing Committee recommended against ratifying ACTA. No word yet on any new developments since then in that country.
Now, it seems to be New Zealands turn to make a move on ACTA. The word is that there will be a public consultation on the agreement. More from PCAdvisor:
Following consultation the treaty will be subject to a National Interest Analysis (NIA) and then normal parliamentary process before a decision is taken to ratify it, says Alastair Stewart, a spokesperson at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (formerly the MED).
The consultation process has yet to begin and at the time of going to print details on the timetable were not available.
ACTA’s recent rejection by the European Parliament has been followed by publication of a report by an all-party committee of Australia’s Parliament; this advises against ratifying the treaty, at least until the meaning of terms such as “intellectual property” and “piracy” have been clarified and ACTA’s potential impact on the economy better assessed.
“Any decision by the [NZ] government about ratification would naturally take into consideration developments in other ACTA signatory countries,” says Stewart.
Of course, for the people of New Zealand, the important thing to remember is that public outcry and pressure on policymakers is what got ACTA rejected in Europe. I suspect that might need to happen in New Zealand if they don’t want to suffer the same fate as Mexico. Any country that turns around and signs and/or ratifies ACTA breathes new life into the agreement. I’m sure people in Europe would advise the people of New Zealand to do everything in their power to make sure ACTA is never ratified. Don’t leave it to chance at any point, make sure it’s dead before the pressure is let up.
I suspect that a defeat in New Zealand would further confirm that the agreement should not be ratified. It would signal to the rest of the world that this is not an agreement worth signing up for or ratifying.
It would appear that New Zealand is the next to determine ACTA’s fate. It’s ultimately all up to the country and it’s people now.