[A2k] Dutch trade minister: ACTA not superior to European or national law

Ante ante at ffii.org
Mon Feb 28 00:47:04 PST 2011

with links

Dutch trade minister: ACTA not superior to European or national law
February 27, 2011
By Ante

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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