The controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has finished yet another round of discussions and is closer than ever to being finalised, according to a spokesman for the European Union's (EU) Commission for Trade.
Meeting in Japan over the past few days some 40 nations from across the world, including the US and member states of the EU, have been debating a number of issues that they claim are designed to protect against the theft of copyrighted materials.
John Clancy, a spokesman for the European commissioner Karel De Gucht of the EU Commission for Trade, said the nations had reached an accord on the document, with only minor issues left to be resolved.
"Participants in the negotiations constructively resolved nearly all substantive issues and produced a consolidated and largely finalised text of the proposed agreement, which will be submitted ad referendum to their respective authorities," he said.
"The participants agreed to work expeditiously to resolve the small number of outstanding issues that require further examination in capitals, with a view to finalising the text of the agreement as promptly as possible."
However, this claim has been attacked by vocal opponents of the ACTA La Quadrature du Net, which argued that the Commission for Trade was attempting to give "the impression that ACTA is a done deal, that parliaments have no other choice than to accept it".
"Countries negotiating the ACTA have not yet reached an agreement," said Philippe Aigrain, founder of La Quadrature du Net.
"If adopted, ACTA will exert a harmful influence on the global framework of rights of expression, communication, access to knowledge and access to health."
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