118. The representative of Australia, addressing his comments to Sri Lanka, said that the European Communities and Switzerland had some of the largest tea producers in the world despite the fact that they did not grow much tea and suspected that they had high tariff escalation. He also understood that Sri Lanka had a certification mark for its tea. Having said that, he asked whether companies like Tetley, Twinning, Lipton and Nestlé recognized that certification mark. Were they licensed by the Sri Lankan tea authorities to use that mark? If so, what was the problem that they had in getting recognition for their name and, if not, why those big companies, coming from the countries that were so supportive of GIs, had not done so? Was Sri Lanka able to register its certification mark in the European Communities? And, if not, why not?
119. As to "feta cheese", he noted the remark made by the Bulgarian representative, who had said that "feta" came from Bulgaria. However, he now understood that this term came from Greece. The delegate from the European Communities had described the great amount of work that had to be done in Europe to convince the relevant authorities that "feta" was a Greek GI. On the other hand, in the negotiations on the establishment of a notification and registration system for foodstuffs, the European Communities and Switzerland had been telling Members that all the exceptions in the TRIPS Agreement would be retained. However, from what he understood from their proposal, Australia would no longer have the power to decide whether "feta cheese" was or was not a generic term. Instead, Australia would have to come to Geneva and go through a convoluted arbitration system at which no Australian would be sitting. There would be a group of experts, non-Australians, who would ask Australia to provide, among other things, information from thousands of consumers, give proof of what scientists had found and of what the dictionary stated. Today, clearly under the current Australian Bill of Rights and Obligations, Australia possessed the right to determine whether a name was generic or not, just as Denmark would. However, under the European Communities system, it would be an arbitration panel that would decide such an issue and one would be obliged to provide all this information to defend a decision that one's national authorities had already taken.
120. Noting that the delegation of Hungary had always been telling the Council that "tokay" was Hungarian, he said that the Oxford dictionary defined the word "tokay" as follows: "1. a sweet aromatic wine made near Tokay, in Hungary", or "2. a similar wine produced elsewhere". Commenting on the survey referred to by the representative of Switzerland, involving some thousand consumers who seemed to attribute clearly that their preferences on their wine purchases were governed by their association with a GI, he said that he had heard from the Swiss delegate in a recent head of delegations retreat in Sydney that there were a lot of concerns in Switzerland about the increased level of imports of foreign wines into Switzerland. He wondered then whether this was happening because the discerning Swiss consumers understood that these foreign wines were from Chile, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, none of whom have GIs? Finally, as to Hungary's comment regarding the definition of a GI and its question to Canada asking whether it wanted to change this definition, he wanted to make it clear that the definition did not include traditional expressions, despite some countries' positions to the contrary.