16. The representative of the European Communities said that the parameters for the negotiating process set out in the Chair's note (JOB(02)/49) would enable the Special Session to complete its task by the next Ministerial Conference as set out in paragraph 18 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration and, thereby, to fulfil the mandate of Article 23.4 on the establishment of a multilateral system of notification and registration. He fully agreed with the method suggested for conducting the discussion. In order to contribute to an engaged discussion, his delegation had made written comments in document JOB(02)/70 of 24 June 2002, following the structure of the points and issues identified in the Chair's note. In particular, it concentrated on the notion of geographical indications in section 3 of that document. In section 4, it addressed the objective that the register needed to facilitate the protection of geographical indications. In section 5, it elaborated on the distinction between "notification" and "registration", which was not present in any proposals made by other Members. In the last section, it addressed the multilateral character of the system for geographical indications. The comments were fully in line with the communication tabled by the EC and their member States in document IP/C/W/107/Rev.1 of 22 June 2000, in which they had outlined their basic ideas of how such a multilateral register should be. He recalled the communication made in document IP/C/W/259 of 31 May 2001, which provided a comparative table of the main proposals already submitted. He believed the table continued to be a useful tool for conducting the discussions. He also pointed to document TN/IP/W/3, co-sponsored by Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, the EC and their member States, Georgia, Hungary, Iceland, Malta, Mauritius, Moldova, Nigeria, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland and Turkey. In that communication, the co-sponsors wanted to confirm that they were committed to the objective laid out in the proposals tabled by the EC and their member States (IP/C/W/107/Rev.1) and by Hungary (IP/C/W/255). It was their conviction that the Special Session had to work towards a meaningful instrument with legal effect, providing as well for a mechanism to resolve disputes which might emerge once such a register was put in place. At the end of that communication, in the last paragraph, the co-sponsors also gave their support to the views expressed in the informal paper by the EC and their member States (JOB(02)/70).
17. In reply to the comments made by the representative of Australia, he said that the EC's list of questions on the Australian legal system in the area of geographical indications was not meant to show that they were ready to begin substantive negotiations; they had already tried to do so for several years. He pointed out that the discussion on the register should not focus on finding out how Members had implemented their obligations under the TRIPS Agreement, which was not the objective of the Special Session. While looking forward to receiving comprehensive answers to the questions at the September meeting of the regular session of the TRIPS Council, he recalled that the only reason for the EC to circulate the questionnaire was because Australia had volunteered to explain to the TRIPS Council its legal regime on geographical indications. In reply to a comment made by the delegation of Australia on the title of document TN/IP/W/3, he pointed out that the EC's original proposal, as well as the proposal tabled three years ago by the United States and other Members, did not make a reference to any specific product. That was certainly deliberately left open at the time. He also indicated that the document relating to extension which was tabled in the regular meeting of the TRIPS Council also contained a reference to the register. Referring to a comment made by the Australian representative concerning the need to discuss costs relating to the establishment of a register, he said that his delegation was looking forward to examining the issue of costs at the September meeting as pointed out by the Chairperson in his note (JOB(02)/49). With regard to a comment made on statistics or numbers of geographical indications, he said that the EC would, at the appropriate time, indicate in the Special Session the number of geographical indications it believed should be notified, on behalf of the EC and their member States, in the multilateral register.