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

Ambassador Carmen Luz Guarda (Chile)
G.ii Review of legislation on enforcement
53. The representative of Mexico expressed his Government's concern that the Prestige Underwriters Company of South Africa was attempting to establish the first distillery of Tequila and Mezcal outside Mexico and that, indeed, it was using the terms Tequila and Mezcal in its efforts to collect funds from investors. He said that this infringed provisions on the protection of geographical indications as stipulated in the TRIPS Agreement: the mere use of the terms Tequila and Mezcal by the South African company in order to obtain funds ran counter to the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement; it was not necessary that Tequila and Mezcal were actually produced outside Mexico to constitute infringement of the international obligations in respect of the protection of geographical indications. The Government of Mexico had contacted the Government of South Africa to clarify the situation before the plans of the South African company in question were realized. He trusted that, with the goodwill shown by the South African authorities, the matter would be settled shortly. He wished to benefit from this opportunity by posing the following questions to the delegation of South Africa: (a)Does South Africa have domestic legislation which enables it to prevent the use of measures which run counter to the provisions on geographical indications in the TRIPS Agreement? (b)If so, Mexico would like to be informed about this legislation and its contents. (c)Is there a system in the stock exchange of South Africa allowing information to be given to investors concerning what companies are doing to attract funds? (d)What measures is South Africa taking to prevent companies established in its territory from infringing rights recognized under the TRIPS Agreement?