Free Trade Agreements

Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with key trading partners aim to reduce import tariffs, remove non-tariff barriers and grant companies better effective access to each other's markets. These agreements also include rules on the protection of Intellectual Property Rights. Through the enhanced protection of Intellectual Property Rights abroad, artists and publishers will have an increasing possibility to market their ideas and products in third countries under conditions as close as possible to those they enjoy at home. This will create further business opportunities and markets, thus leading to new jobs and economic growth.

When negotiating trade agreements with third parties, we believe it is important to safeguard European cultural diversity, which is the policy of the European Union, and thus support the maintenance of the cultural exception as common in all FTAs heretofore; the establishment of a high quality enforcement system of Intellectual Property Rights both at an international level and in individual countries, is crucial and entirely compatible with the cultural exception.

We are convinced that free trade agreements are extremely beneficial for the rights of creators and rightsholders through the inclusion of robust chapters on the protection of Intellectual Property Rights in general and copyright in particular. In addition, under the principle of the most favoured nation, the highest standards of protection of IP are applied to all the trading partners, which is particularly relevant for rightsholders in countries with a poor level of protection of their copyright.

Effective chapters on Intellectual Property Rights in free trade agreements can therefore help local and international rightsholders to better protect their rights in areas where there is little respect for copyright. Greater harmonisation of protection of Intellectual Property Rights world-wide can be encouraged by FTAs, creating further incentives for creation and cross-border exchange of protected works.