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Action 99: Improve international trade conditions including IPR

Work with third countries to improve international trade conditions for digital goods and services, including with regard to intellectual property rights.

What is the problem? The nature of trade barriers has changed over time

While tariff barriers and quantitative restrictions have overall decreased, non-tariff barriers (e.g. labelling and origin rules) and other regulatory restrictions have gained in importance.

The Commission will work towards favourable external trade conditions for digital goods and services, e.g. to deliver market access and investment opportunities, to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers at global level, to improve Intellectual Property Rights protection and avoid market distortions.

The Commission has announced in March 2011 a new Communication on a revised strategy for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries. It is planned for February 2012.

Why is EU action necessary? To improve international trade conditions

To create a positive environment for European companies providing services in third countries or to facilitate exports, the EU will support regulatory and policy reforms in these countries.

The trade interests of the European Information Society field must be defined and pursued through bilateral, regional or multilateral agreements.

A challenge for trade policy is to reinforce international norms and standards to tackle non-tariff barriers detrimental to EU industry.

Such different issues are addressed in various bilateral (e.g. Free Trade Agreements), pluri and multilateral negotiations (e.g. Doha Round of WTO, Information Technology Agreement (see action 100).

What has the Commission done until now?

  • DG INFSO Dialogues with third countries: the United States on 11/2 and 6/10 2011), China on 21/3 and 30/11 2011), South Africa on 7/6 2011), Japan on 17/6 2011), Russia on 29/6 2011), Brazil on September 8/11 2011) and in the near future, India (planned for February 2012).
  • The European Commission and the United States have agreed on Trade Principles for ICT services to be applied to partner countries.
  • The EU-China IP WG: Last meeting was held in Beijing on 10 March 2011. At the HED in December 2010 the EU and China signed the extended 'EU-China Action Plan on Customs IPR Enforcement'. The latest EU-China IP WG was held in Beijing on 14-15 November 2011.
  • Free Trade Agreements and Market Access: INFSO will continue to actively engage with DG TRADE on FTA negotiations with third countries, as well as take part in the market access fora.

What will the European Commission do?

In 2012:

  • Clarify priorities and goals of an international strategy.
  • Present the Communication on a revised strategy for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries.
  • Pursue its efforts in the different above mentioned negotiations.