Minutes - TRIPS Council - View details of the intervention/statement

Ambassador W. Armstrong (New Zealand)
United States of America
A Notifications under Article 4(d)
5. The representative of the United States supported the text of the informal background note and the Chairman's proposal on how to move forward on Article 4(d). The proposal would provide for an opportunity to revisit the notifications that had been made under that Article and the structure of the note presented a framework for such reviews. In the informal discussions, a number of Members had expressed a preference for approaching the issue by Members posing questions to other Members directly rather than through a more formal procedure. Therefore, it was important to retain the statement that any Member may present questions to other delegations regarding their notifications, whether bilaterally or on the floor of the Council. An incentive was needed to ensure that Members would review their notifications in a timely manner and make the determination as to whether a notification under Article 4(d) had been appropriate. In a number of cases, Members appeared to have notified every bilateral or multilateral agreement to which they were parties and that contained the term "intellectual property", disregarding the threshold in Article 4(d) itself for notifications under the provision. He encouraged those Members that had followed such an approach in their notifications to consider seriously whether the breadth of those notifications was in fact appropriate. Finally, the representative of the United States drew attention to the fact that certain governments, including the governments of Germany, Portugal and Italy, had notified the entire contents of the Paris Convention, which his delegation found confusing in view of the obligation under Article 2.1 of the TRIPS Agreement to comply with Articles 1 through 12, and 19 of the Paris Convention (1967). This raised the question as to whether these WTO Members were suggesting that they did not have to extend MFN treatment to nationals of other WTO Members in respect of the obligations contained in Articles 1 through 12, and 19, of the Paris Convention (1967).