29. The representative of the United States introduced document TN/IP/W/1. He explained that a communication made by the European Communities last year (document IP/C/W/259) had motivated the United States to produce the paper. If the EC table presented its perspective on the "Joint Proposal" by Canada, Chile, Japan and the United States (document IP/C/W/133/Rev.1), document TN/IP/W/1 reflected the United States' perspective on the various proposals that had been tabled. The first couple of pages teased out the principal issues under each of the proposals but, more importantly, the paper asked a number of very relevant questions about each proposal. One of the major concerns was whether or not the system was binding. It was very clear from the proposals who was free to participate and what participation actually entailed. There were other issues such as what happened when a particular name was challenged or not, and what the grounds for challenging a particular name were. Since the Chairperson had invited discussions on the issues to be addressed and suggested that he might develop an agenda under his own authority in close consultation with Members, the United States had, therefore, also produced a paper entitled "Issues for Discussion in the Negotiations Under TRIPS Article 23.4" (document TN/IP/W/2). Many of the issues included in the list appeared in the first paper but there were also additional issues, some of which had been raised by other interventions in the informal consultations, in particular by Malaysia. He expressed the hope that this contribution would find support or would attract constructive criticism and would provide the Chairperson with a concrete basis for the work he intended to bring forward for the next meeting. The first item, "Participating Members", was an important issue because it seemed to lead to various results in the proposals. The second item, "Notification Procedure", concerned steps to be taken if a participating Member wanted to notify a particular name. Another fundamental issue was which geographical indications for wines and spirits would be eligible for notification; there were discussions on what was a geographical indication and there was a need to understand what geographical indication would be eligible to be included in the list. Members would have to provide a certain amount of information when seeking a registration. What system would be put in place or had been proposed to enable oppositions to any name put on the list, and what would be the grounds for opposition and its interim effect? According to one proposal, the name would be allowed to remain on the list if the ground for opposition was of a particular nature. What would be the final registration of unopposed names and the legal effects of such registration on WTO Members' rights, namely those Members who had notified names and sought their registration and those who had not opposed any particular name? Under some proposals, it would appear that Members who had chosen not to notify any name might actually fall under some obligations. For this reason, the paper contained between parentheses the words "Participants/Non-participants". With respect to some proposals, this participation would rather be extensive, even burdensome. Finally, the system, if it were developed, would have to evolve, with membership evolving, so it would need to be modified and updated. The costs associated with any system developed was a relevant topic and those associated with the various proposals might differ greatly for the Members but also for the WTO Secretariat.
30. The United States supported the suggestions made by others that it was necessary to have a thorough understanding of the existing systems. The Secretariat had already given some information in that regard but it would be necessary as part of these negotiations to develop further understanding at the national, regional and international levels.