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

Ambassador C. Trevor Clarke (Barbados)
B.ii Meeting of 28 October 2009, p.m.
166. The Chairman agreed with the delegation of Barbados that there was good engagement from delegations and that the group had made some progress. He thought, however, that the main challenge continued to be how to find a way to meet the expectations of the mandate of "facilitating" the protection of GIs for wines and spirits without "imposing" undue burden on Members. He had some difficulty in understanding how there could be any meaningful and useful facilitation of the protection without Members doing something. Some Members might have to do more within their domestic environments, while others might have to do less or even nothing. It seemed inconceivable to come to a situation where there would be a meaningful result without some degree of commitment beyond the obligation to consult the register. Unless there was some agreement on what a Member should do with the information in the register and how to balance that information against its own domestic information, this negotiating group would continue to have a challenge. There had to be some meeting of minds between doing nothing and at the same time giving effect to the mandate to "facilitate". While there was no intention to increase current protection, Members were committed to "facilitate" that protection. It would be necessary to find some additional language to put that into a workable and meaningful context. He said, however, that, as pointed out by one delegation, this exercise was not aimed at creating a harmonization system. 167. On the question of participation, he said that the Special Session should be looking for some way to reconcile the two approaches on the table. 168. On the question of special and differential treatment, he took the point that the matter could best be addressed when the broader picture of consequences/legal effects and participation were known. However, he thought that some Members, in particular developing country ones, would already have some ideas as to what they would like to have, irrespective of the legal consequences, and as to what measures would be appropriate. Those Members which had a better experience of the TRIPS negotiations might have a better feel for what could be appropriate for developing countries. 169. To the extent he thought appropriate, he would take into account the information he had received during the Special Session meetings in the draft report that he would prepare on his own responsibility.
The Special Session took note of the statements made.