The European Parliament today (4 July) voted to reject the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement ACTA, which means it cannot become law in the EU.
The ACTA was designed to help countries work together more closely to combat global trade piracy, but faced protests across Europe amid fears it amounted to internet censorship.
Before today’s vote, 22 EU member states, as well as Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and the US had signed the treaty. However, the decision means that no EU member states will be able to join the agreement.
Euratex, the European Apparel and Textile Confederation, has backed a coalition of over 130 organisations representing the manufacturing and creative industries who say the decision will be “damaging for European intellectual property, jobs and the economy”.
The coalition said many MEPs had hoped to wait for the opinion of the Court of Justice before taking a final decision.
The Court of Justice is still considering whether the agreement is compatible with the EU’s rights and freedoms, such as freedom of expression and information or data protection and the right to property in case of intellectual property.
MEP David Martin emphasised that the European Union needs to find alternative ways to protect intellectual property in the EU, as the “raw material of the EU economy”.
“We are encouraged by the statements made in the European Parliament that today’s vote was not a vote against intellectual property rights enforcement,” said Euratex president Alberto Paccanelli.
“Europe’s innovative manufacturing and creative industries are now looking to the other ACTA signatories to protect our rights internationally.”
In February, Euratex said clothing accounted for 26% of EU customs procedures in 2010, with 7.78m articles seized – around 7% of the total seizures. The retail value of the clothing goods would have been EUR177.9m.
The main country of origin of textile and clothing counterfeits was China, accounting for 76% of the total.