Former Minister for Trade
Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

1 February 2008

Australia to negotiate an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)

Australia will begin negotiations with a number of trading partners on a new Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The agreement aims to establish a new standard of intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement to combat the high levels of trade in counterfeit and pirated goods worldwide.

Australia’s participation in ACTA negotiations demonstrates our commitment to protecting intellectual property rights in Australia and worldwide. Effective enforcement increases certainty for all Australian businesses who operate overseas and underpins our trade interests.

Australia is seeking an enhanced, practical international standard on IPR enforcement with broad international support, to complement the existing international IP architecture.

The Australian Government takes intellectual property protection seriously. Enforcement of IPR internationally is important to Australian trade interests, which suffer losses through counterfeiting and piracy.

A recent OECD report observed that international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods was growing rapidly, with an estimated value of approximately US$200 billion annually. The negative impacts of this trade are wide-ranging, creating significant costs for governments, consumers and businesses.

Following separate proposals by Japan and the United States in late 2006, Japan, Switzerland, the EC and the US announced a joint proposal for a new ACTA in October 2007.

Australia attended informal pre-negotiation discussions for the ACTA in late 2007 and January 2008.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade released a discussion paper in November 2007 inviting public submissions regarding Australia’s possible participation in an ACTA.

The Government took careful note of these views and will continue to consult stakeholders throughout the negotiation process. Further submissions from interested parties are welcome.

Taking part in the negotiations does not oblige Australia to join any resulting treaty. A decision will be taken on whether to sign the treaty when it is finalised.

Media Inquiries: Mr Crean's office 02 6277 7420 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555