[A2k] Dutch trade minister: ACTA not superior to European or national law
ante at ffii.org
Mon Feb 28 00:47:04 PST 2011
Dutch trade minister: ACTA not superior to European or national law
February 27, 2011
Will ACTA be binding on the US, EU, France, Romania, the Netherlands and
Singapore? Confusion over whether the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
(ACTA) is binding is mounting. On 1 December 2010, Dutch Trade Minister
Verhagen said in a parliamentary commission meeting: “It has never come up to
implement ACTA in the Netherlands. It so happens that ACTA is not superior to
European or national law.”
This is a remarkable statement. It is in direct conflict with an EU
Commission’s answer to a European Parliament question. It is also in conflict
with the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, which was ratified by the
Netherlands. The minister misinformed parliament.
A group of prominent European academics state that ACTA will directly or
indirectly require additional action on the EU level. ACTA goes beyond current
EU law. ACTA is legislation by the back door.
Minister Verhagen’s statement resembles United States Trade Representative’s
statements that ACTA will not be binding upon the US. Whether that is true is
uncertain. The US did not sign the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
Will this provide the US with an escape? This would give the US a competitive
advantage: more policy space. (See also TACD.) Four members of the European
Parliament asked a follow-up question.
The European Union did not sign the Vienna Convention either. If ACTA does not
bind the US, will it bind the EU? Most European countries did ratify the
Vienna Convention, yet France and Romania didn’t.
Singapore didn’t ratify the Convention either.
A joint submission by 30 legal and international trade scholars warned that
the Obama Administration’s plan to implement ACTA without Congressional
consent as a “sole executive agreement” is unconstitutional. Could that be the
US defense? Sorry, we didn’t have the competence to bind the US?
The EU should not give the US a competitive advantage.
(Dutch text Verhagen: “Er is echter nooit sprake van geweest om ACTA in
Nederland te incorporeren. ACTA gaat namelijk niet boven Europese of nationale
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