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

Ambassador Eui-yong Chung (Korea, Republic of)
C.ii.i Procedures
46. The representative of Canada fully associated her delegation with the interventions made by Australia, the United States, and Argentina. For Canada and others co-sponsors of document TN/IP/W/5, Article 23.4 required the implementation of a two-stage system. Stage 1 was clearly notification, stage 2 registration. Supporters of a mandatory system rather seemed to be proposing a system that provided for a four-stage system: notification, examination or, as the Swiss delegation called it, a summary formal examination, opposition and registration, complete with timelines and burdensome administrative obstacles. Unlike notification and registration, examination and opposition were not part of the procedures foreseen under Article 23.4. Their implementation, in Canada's view, would actually add to the TRIPS obligations for wines and spirits. Furthermore, it would constitute an infringement of the principle of territoriality. The voluntary multilateral system should not include an opposition procedure. The opposition to the recognition of a GI should occur under the national laws and procedures of the notifying Member. This was very different from what the proponents of a mandatory system were supporting which, in Canada's view, was essentially an arbitration system and went well beyond the Special Session's mandate. 47. With the proposed two-stage voluntary system, the first stage, notification, would consist of the submission by a Member to the Secretariat of a list of GIs for wines and spirits protected under its national legislation. Notification was aimed at identifying the domestic geographical indications a Member protected nationally. 48. The second stage, registration, would be the responsibility of the Secretariat and would consist of a searchable database of all notified GIs for wines and spirits. The database would identify the GIs notified, the notifying Member, the date on which the GI was protected in its country of origin, the expiration date of the GI, if appropriate, and any agreement under which the indication might be protected. The system would also provide for the implementation of Article 23.3. A list of the registered GIs would finally be distributed to every Member and a WTO website would allow for easy retrieval. 49. Finally, she said that her delegation failed to understand why the representative of Hungary was making an association with the on-going discussions on agriculture. The discussion in the Special Session of the TRIPS Council was about fulfilling an existing obligation in the TRIPS Agreement, and as mandated by Ministers at Doha, about concluding the negotiations of a multilateral notification and registration of GIs for wines and spirits only.