Australia Trade Agreement Laws

Many people on the Australian film and television scene have expressed concern about the impact of the agreement on government rules to impose a mandatory minimum of locally produced content on television. Given that US content can be purchased by networks at a reasonable price compared to local production of Australian content, there was concern that the agreement would further reduce the proportion of domestic media in Australian television channels and Australian cinemas. As a result, the Media, Entertainment and Art Alliance, as well as a number of prominent artists, have individually supported the rejection of the free trade agreement because it would undermine Australian culture. Chapter 4 deals with the trade in textiles and clothing between the two countries. Most of this section includes rules of origin for textile products and protection of the internal markets of both countries. The agreement provides for an emergency mechanism if the sudden increase in imports due to the reduction in tariffs has negative effects on the domestic industry of the importing country. It is not possible to discuss here all the details and issues raised by the AUSFTA chapter on intellectual property rights. However, the following questions are some of the most important. Nevertheless, many of the issues mentioned below should be considered provisional, pending any legislation that will be introduced for the entry into force of Chapter 17 of the AUSFTA, especially since much of the language of the AUSFTA is currently quite vague. In general, the problems that arise reflect the tension mentioned above between the objectives of competition and the protection of works. The previous TRIPS agreement recognises the tension between protecting intellectual property rights and promoting competition.

The WTO says that after the signing of the free trade agreement, there were initial concerns that the U.S. agricultural sector would put pressure on the agreement, lest it interfere with the government`s agricultural subsidy program. However, the agreement with deadlines for importing Australian agricultural products, such as beef and sugar cane, has allayed concerns in the US agricultural market (while many Australian producers were very frustrated). The agreement contains, among other things, rules for the settlement of disputes between members of the telecommunications industry in one country with members of the other country. In December 2003, Trade Minister Mark Vaile cited Article 17.4.4 of the Mickey Mouse clause and objected to its inclusion in the agreement. He has to say that there is an entire constituency with a strong opinion against extending the copyright period, and we are moving this case. (43) This constituency will be disappointed by the result. Indeed, in September 2000, the former Intellectual Property and Competition Review Committees recommended a revision of intellectual property legislation as part of the Agreement on Principles of Competition against Extending the Term of Copyright, and the Government accepted this recommendation.

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