On tuesday october 5th, Mexican Senate took the first step to take Mexico out of ACTA by voting through a non-binding point of agreement that makes a strong call to reject any type of international policy fabricated behind closed doors, at least in Mexico.
The Senate voted unanimously in favor of the resolution promoted by Senator Carlos Sotelo from the PRD party. Some Senators took the stand to support this initiative as they were tweeting their reasons to support this resolution.
Mr. Sotelo started by explaining the high degree of opacity involved in the negotiations of ACTA, and by drawing attention to the lack of public consultation at large. The Senator proposed to create a mixed analysis group consisting of experts, academics, corporations and members of the public that will analyze the current text of the agreement — which is to be released Wednesday, according to Minister of Economy Bruno Ferrari — and also exhorted the country’s executive power to withdraw from negotiations until an alternate path can be traced and ACTA has been scrutinized.
Senador Doring from PAN first pointed out the lack of information provided to the Senate in order for it to reach a position on ACTA, and reminded that the treaty goes beyond Internet, bringing attention to patents and the vulnerability that represents to access medicines by the most needed.
“Regarding the Internet, i want to make clear the position of the PAN Senators: What made us vote in favor of this point of agreement is not that we want to deter Mexico from endorsing an agreement, but that we want to revise it first together with the autorities of the Federal government, in order to avoid a mismatch. What we senators do not want is that the government endorses this document unilaterally and that there is not the possibility of excercising plural politics with a mixed work group like the one this point of agreement is proposing, because then what is left is the glitch between a document that has been signed by the government of the Republic and the yes or no of the ratification of the treaty by the Senate.”
He concluded adding that his parliamentary group sees the Internet as “a universal platform that belongs to the citizens”, hoping to know as soon as possible exactly what it is that the government is meaning to sign.
Senator Francisco Castellón from PRD – lead figure on the digital agenda and strong supporter of net neutrality, digital rights and citizen participation - reminded the quorum that ACTA is not a new issue and recalled the activity among citizens when the Senate tried to tax the Internet in México. He mentioned the report on ACTA given to the Senate in march by the main negotiator — Jorge Amigo Castañeda, Director of the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property — which made him realize that the main negotiators were not taking the theme seriously.
He concluded pointing out the necessity of having the final text in order to evaluate how to protect citizen rights and intellectual property right holders.
All Senators recognize the importance of protection of IP rights, but not at the cost of fundamental rights of citizens.
71 senators where present at the session.
This is the translation of the text voted for with unanimity. (Source in spanish here.)
* POINT OF AGREEMENT:
First. The Senate of the Republic agrees to establish a work group dedicated to continuing the negotiating process regarding the Anti Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) with the purpose of contributing to transparency in the multilateral negotiations and guaranteeing that the resulting regulations of said Agreement are in accordance with the fundamental warranties and rights envisaged in our Federal Constitution.
Second. The Senate of the Republic agrees to, in the shape of the work group mentioned in the above regulation, hold discussions and public hearings with goverment employees, academics, experts and interested members of the public, with the object of establishing a position regarding the Anti Counterfeit Trade Agreement, and if necessary of creating an agenda and course of action alternative to this Agreement, aiming to elaborate and present law proposals related to the Internet, industrial and artistical property rights, freedom of expression and the right to privacy.
Third. While the Chamber of Senators is reaching a position regarding the Anti Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA), it requests that our Federal Executive Mr. Felipe Calderón Hinojosa suspend the negotiating process on behalf of our country for signing this international treaty.
Hall of Sessions of the Senate of the Republic, the 28th of the month of September, 2010.