Association, Inc.

Issue No. 2, 2012

JAMA welcomes international commitment to fighting counterfeit trade

At a Tokyo ceremony hosted by the Japanese government on 23 January, the European Union joined countries from around the world in signing on to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a groundbreaking treaty which establishes an international legal framework for combatting the proliferation of counterfeiting and piracy.  ACTA builds on the minimum standards already set out in the twenty-year-old WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights by including innovative provisions to deepen international cooperation and promote strong intellectual property rights enforcement practices.  Nine countries in total have so far joined ACTA.

The first round of signatures in October 2011, which also took place in Tokyo, saw Japan, the United States, Canada, South Korea, and four other countries sign on to the agreement.  The signings in January mark another significant step towards the agreement’s entry into force.

The proliferation of counterfeiting and piracy is seen as undermining legitimate trade and the sustainable development of the world economy.  Counterfeiting in the auto sector presents particular risks to consumers, as it opens the door to inferior-quality products and poses unnecessary safety risks for motorists and other road users.  Future R&D investment into new technologies is also undermined by such illicit trade, the global scale of which means that only international cooperation can be an effective solution to this challenge. 

Since its inception, the agreement has been largely driven by the Japanese government.  Following its proposal to create an international framework against counterfeit and pirated products during the G8 Summit in 2005, Japan jointly reached out with the United States in October 2007 to other partners to further develop the idea.  Subsequently, their continued joint efforts led to intensive discussions which paved the way to the current agreement.

The next step in bringing ACTA into force is the deposit, from each of the signatories, of its “instrument of ratification, acceptance, or approval”.  In the European Union, ratification would require the consent of the European Parliament.

JAMA supports the international community’s commitment to stamp out the illegal and damaging trade of counterfeit and pirated goods.  When it comes into effect, JAMA is confident that this high-level agreement will provide national authorities with the tools needed to better promote international automotive trade and better protect national industries, their products, and their jobs.