Most people are familiar with the extensive and widespread sale of counterfeit goods. Just think of designers, artists, whose livelihood is at stake. If they cannot protect themselves against illegal copying, they lose their income and may ultimately be forced to shut down their business.
EU customs authorities estimate that illegal copying tripled from 2005-2010, and that European companies annually lose billions as a result. It is a huge problem both for businesses and for growth and employment.
The Treaty extends the protection against copying and rights violation which applies in the EU for a number of countries outside the EU, which are important trade partners for the EU. It makes it easier for companies to enforce their rights, particularly outside the European Union, in countries like the United States, Korea, Morocco and Switzerland. And it will be for the benefit of growth in the EU.
Investment in and development of products requires that companies have the assurance that they can enforce their rights to the products and that they cannot simply be copied. ACTA is also necessary in order to protect citizens' health and safety. This is the case, for example in relation to counterfeit medicines, which make up about 10 percent of world trade.
ACTA is also about securing Danish workplaces. We are currently characterised by numerous information-intensive enterprises, which thrive from developing and designing products such as furniture and high-tech machines. These companies cannot survive without effective protection of their rights both in Denmark and outside Denmark.
The Government is therefore working continually to strengthen the international protection of corporate rights to products they have developed and designed. ACTA is the result of these efforts, and it creates also a model which can be used in future free trade agreements.
Pia Olsen-Dyhr is Minister for Trade and Investment (SF, Socialist People’s Party)