88. The representative of Argentina referred to paragraph 99 of the minutes of the previous meeting of the Council (document IP/C/M/28), which reflected an intervention by Argentina which had not been worded in the way her delegation would have wanted it to be worded, in particular with regard to a sentence in which it had wanted to express surprise about comments made calling for a "pragmatic approach" and against "narrow or legalistic interpretations". Correcting this situation, she said that her delegation had wanted to say: "We do not share the tendency which has been seen in this Council to force interpretations of Ministerial Declarations, Reports or the very provisions of the Agreement, supported by insufficient legal and technical arguments. This concerns us, particularly when these interpretations come from countries which have greater responsibility in the multilateral trading system and when the interpretative laxity or, put another way, the departure from strict legal interpretation, is used in a selectively discriminatory fashion regarding the subjects under discussion."
89. She reiterated that Argentina's interpretation of Article 24.1 was that this provision concerned negotiations which would have as their subject what was entailed in the specific reference to Article 23, enhancing the protection given to wines and spirits. Responding to the delegation of Switzerland, which had said that the requirement of misleading the public established under Article 22 caused legal uncertainty regarding the protection of geographical indications in the territory of given Members, she wondered whether Switzerland believed that the reference in Article 23.3 to consumers being misled in relation to homonymous indications also created legal uncertainty. Argentina gathered from what Switzerland was saying that extension of the additional protection for geographical indications to products other than wines and spirits, which it was looking for under Article 24.1, would render inoperative the provisions of Article 22.2, as they would have no reason to exist. How did Switzerland and its co-sponsors of the joint proposal conceive negotiations on extension as required by the Agreement? For example, there was nothing in Article 22 which indicated that its effect was subordinate to negotiations that supposedly were going to take place under Article 24.1, as many alleged, to extend protection, i.e. there was nothing in the Agreement that indicated that specific rules were transitional pending specific negotiations. In paragraph 12 of their proposal, Switzerland and its co-sponsors said that it would be illogical to limit the negotiating mandate just to wines and spirits because these products already received additional protection under Article 23 and that this would increase the imbalance in favour of these products. Did this mean that, according to those delegations' interpretation, the protection given under Article 23 to wines and spirits was a maximum standard of protection for wines and spirits? And did those delegations believe that, as a consequence, the status quo should be maintained as at present? Did they believe that there was no possibility to improve protection for those products in the framework of the TRIPS Agreement? The representative of Switzerland had said that the possible increase in protection for products others than wines and spirits would be safeguarded through the exemptions provided in Article 24; and that, in any case, extension to other products of the additional protection granted under Article 23 in respect of geographical indications for wines and spirits, would be covered by these safeguards. She wondered how this was compatible with paragraph 12 of the joint proposal, which said that negotiations required under Article 24.1 should cover not just additional protection of geographical indications, but also the mitigation of the exceptions to protection provided for in Article 24.4 to 24.8. Referring to paragraph 39 of Switzerland's Report to the TPRB for its upcoming trade policy review (document WT/TPR/G/77/CHE), she said that the Swiss Government, describing its position regarding a new round of multilateral trade negotiations, had stated that one of the main topics for these negotiations should be the extension of the protection of geographical indications to food products other than wines and spirits, as well as to specific industrial products. She wondered how this statement, which recognized an attempt to extend protection to food and industrial products as part of a new round, was compatible with the proposal presented in document IP/C/W/204/Rev.1, which said that the issue of extension of additional protection to products other than wines and spirits was an integral part of the built-in agenda of the TRIPS Agreement.