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

Ambassador Eui-yong Chung (Korea, Republic of)
C.i New papers from participants
9. The representative of Canada said that the communication contained in document TN/IP/W/5 was co-sponsored by Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Namibia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Chinese Taipei and the United States. It was a joint proposal for a multilateral system for notification and registration of geographical indications for wines and spirits based on Article 23.4 of the TRIPS Agreement. The proposal satisfied the requirements of Article 23.4 as well as the criteria that Canada and other countries had identified during past discussions in the TRIPS Council and at the June meeting of the Special Session as being appropriate for a system of notification and registration to facilitate protection for geographical indications for wines and spirits. The proposed system would facilitate protection of GIs for participating WTO Members by providing an uncomplicated and efficient system for notification and registration of GIs for wines and spirits that were recognized in the national systems of individual WTO Members. The proposed system would allow those participating WTO Members to send a list of their claimed GIs to the Secretariat, which would then compile that information into a searchable database. The information would then be readily available to all the WTO Members who had chosen to participate in the system for use in their decision-making processes related to the protection of GIs for wines and spirits. The proposed system would be used to making decisions that had legal impact and decisions that could protect other countries' claimed terms. The proposed system would not impose new substantive obligations regarding protection of GIs. It would rely instead on the existing obligations and would not prejudice any of the rights of Members enshrined in the TRIPS Agreement. The proposal allowed for truly voluntary participation. In addition, the voluntary nature of the proposed system was supportive of the special and differential treatment objective of developing and least-developed country Members. The proposal recognized and accommodated the various regimes of WTO Members for protection of GIs already described in the responses to the Article 24.2 Checklist of Questions. It was a simple and inexpensive system for those choosing to participate and would allow WTO Members and others to access and use information submitted without undue burden or cost. Finally, the proposed system would not impose undue administrative burdens or costs on the WTO Secretariat.