EU should join global anti-piracy push -Commission

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union should join a drive for an agreement between the world’s biggest economies to fight piracy in countries such as China, the EU’s executive Commission said on Tuesday.

A new Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, first proposed by the United States and Japan, would bolster efforts to protect intellectual property around the world, the Commission said.

It would also safeguard consumers from forged products, including the growing problem of fake drugs, it said.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the trade in counterfeited consumer goods has reached $200 billion (97.9 billion pounds) a year, equivalent to 2 percent of world trade, the statement said.

The EU complains that countries such as China and Russia are not doing enough to fight piracy. The United States has taken a tougher approach, launching litigation against China at the World Trade Organisation this year.

The Commission said it would ask EU member states for a mandate to negotiate the new agreement.

Such a deal would harmonise standards and improve communication between authorities in developed economies -- and eventually developing ones too -- and adopt a joint approach to putting pressure on countries where piracy thrives.

It could also create a legal framework reflecting changes in intellectual property theft after the rise of digital technology made copying easy, as well as helping combat health threats from counterfeit food and pharmaceuticals, the statement said.

Counterfeit drugs, mostly destined for the world’s poorest countries, are estimated to account for almost 10 percent of world trade in medicines.