12. The representative of Australia stated that, regarding the organization of work, his delegation had no major difficulty with the approach outlined for a period of further study based on a list of issues. It would, however, be most reluctant to impose deadlines for the submission of proposals, which it would regard as pre-emptive. In this respect, most of the qualifications used by the Chairperson were agreeable to Australia. It would not, however, be prepared to agree on when a comprehensive text should be prepared. This would depend very much on how the discussions would progress in 2002. It might not be until year 2003 that some text should be brought out. He was mindful of the risks associated with coming out with a negotiating text which would simply encourage the authors of texts to load them up with extraneous issues in the hope that they could trade them away in the process of negotiation; they would be on the defensive and be forced to defend them to their death. Those who experienced what happened in Seattle knew how a heavily square-bracketed text frustrated, rather than facilitated, negotiations. Australia believed it would be better, therefore, to gain some better understanding and agreement on the substance before rushing prematurely into a text.
13. With regard to commissioning any further technical work, the representative of Australia said that there was one area where there would be value in getting some more information for all participants. He suggested that the WTO Secretariat, in consultation, if necessary, with the International Bureau of WIPO, prepare an inventory describing in summary form how each of the developed and developing country Members of the WTO had implemented their obligations under Article 23. That summary should include a definition of a geographical indication and the relevant exceptions these countries had provided under Article 24. This would be helpful for the following reasons: (a) it would give all participants a better idea of how a multilateral system of notification and registration would be implemented; (b) it would give participants a better idea of whether the proposals they had in mind would be capable of attracting broad support; (c) it would help developing countries better assess the costs of implementing the outcome of any negotiations. He was aware that around 40 countries had already submitted to the WTO Secretariat information in response to the questionnaire under Article 24.2, but that no record of experience had yet been received from some 60 countries. It would be helpful if such information could be received for the June meeting.