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

Ambassador C. Trevor Clarke (Barbados)
12. The representative of Switzerland thanked the Chairman for his work in the Special Session and said that it had been no easy task to move forward in the GI register negotiations due to its link with other areas of the Doha Round negotiations. Thanks to the Chairman's diplomatic skills and wisdom, delegations had been encouraged to explain in more detail their various proposals and positions, their needs, and their expectations regarding the establishment of the GI register. She felt that delegations had deepened their understanding of the issues and the real points of divergences had been more clearly identified. She pointed out that the proponents of document TN/C/W/52 had come a long way towards the position of the Joint Proposal Group and had shown significant flexibility in taking into account some of their concerns, but she had not seen any movement or compromise on these issues from the other side. 13. With respect to the Chairman's report, she said that the exercise had been largely successful, and that it could not have been easy to find the right balance between the different views. Her delegation would like to draw attention to a few areas in the report where she would have preferred to see their proposed language reflected. Firstly, she said it was unfortunate that the report did not reflect the fact that the register proposal in document TN/C/W/52 was an integral part of a broader modalities proposal, and that it was made with a view to extending the scope of the register to GIs for all products. More specifically, with regard to paragraph 12 of the report, she wished to put on record that her delegation disagreed with the Chairman's interpretation of the word "multilateral" in relation to the participation of Members in the system, and with his suggestion that Members should develop criteria to define the extent of participation. In her delegation's view, such a suggestion was inconsistent with the mandate in Article 23.4 of the TRIPS Agreement and in the Doha Declaration, and did not correspond to the proposal in document TN/C/W/52. While, as pointed out in paragraph 12 of the Chairman's report, some WTO Members could be excluded from certain obligations "for a variety of reasons", for instance for transitional measures for LDCs, this did not mean as a consequence that their participation as such in a multilateral system could be called into question. 14. Regarding the way forward, she said that the guiding principles contained in paragraph 16 were extremely useful and helpful and her delegation would be prepared to continue the discussions on this basis. Members should, however, bear in mind that of the three issues contained in TN/C/W/52, the issue of GI extension was of special importance for her delegation. Switzerland stood ready to work with all Members to conclude the negotiations on all three TRIPS issues and looked forward to continuing the work under the Chairman's successor.
The Special Session took note of the statements made.