Actas - Consejo de los ADPIC - Ver detalles de la intervención/declaración

Ambassador Boniface Chidyausiku (Zimbabwe)
201. The representative of Australia said that he would respond at the next meeting to the question of the mandate, the implementation dimension and other issues that had been raised. He noted with surprise that the European Communities had said that it was not a demandeur on this issue. He recalled Commissioner Fischler's statements after adoption of the Doha Ministerial Declaration that the European Communities were pleased that they could now negotiate on geographical indications. He also recalled a statement on 9 January 2002 by the representative of the European Communities that "Extension of protection to other products is an area of particular interest to the EU. The EU believes that it is time to start serious negotiations on this issue. The Ministerial Declaration confirmed that extension of protection of GIs to products other than wines and spirits are to be addressed in the TRIPS Council but no deadline for this was set." Australia was pleased to know that the European Communities were not a demandeur as this then meant that Switzerland was the only developed country demandeur. Responding to the European Communities, he reiterated that the definition of a geographical indication was a fundamental issue, even though the Agreement contained a definition. Most of the developing countries interested in extension wished to protect their country names. He asked the proponents whether country names would be accepted as legitimate geographical indications. The European Communities had suggested in bilateral negotiations with Australia that it could never use the country name "Australia". This responded to the question raised about the use of "Australian Shiraz". He gave examples of products on sale in the European Communities that used country names even though they were not produced in the countries or regions indicated, although some of the ingredients might have originated in them. Responding to the claim that extension would lead to better market access, more investment, more technology transfer and better trade balances for developing countries, he asked whether these traders would be prevented from using these indications. He asked the developing country proponents to show that geographical indication protection would really solve their problems and cautioned against believing that additional protection for geographical indications would automatically provide market access. Responding to the question as to what traditional expressions had to do with this debate, he said that countries should be very cautious about agreeing to extension as they did not know where the demands would end. Responding to Sri Lanka's question as to why some wine and spirit producers were taking advantage of the higher level of protection for their products but opposing extension of that level of protection to other products, he said that Australia was not convinced of the need for the higher level of protection for any product, including wine. It had agreed to a higher level of protection for geographical indications for wine under a bilateral agreement for commercial reasons but would be happy to resolve the imbalance in levels of protection for geographical indications in the TRIPS Agreement by deleting Article 23 and applying a lower level of protection to all products. Responding to India and Pakistan's comments on the relative costs of extension and implementation of the rest of the TRIPS Agreement, he was aware that some developing countries felt that they had been forced to accept the Agreement. He cautioned those delegations against supporting extension lest they realize later that the costs of implementation were very high and raise the same concerns about those costs as they had already raised about the TRIPS Agreement as a whole. On the question of the mandate, he said that the European Communities and others had raised the mandate, not Australia. Australia was happy to discuss issues of substance and had been doing so at the present meeting.