Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Apr14/04)
23 April 2014
Third World Network
engagement yet on GI register for wines and spirits
Published in SUNS #7779 dated 7 April 2014
Geneva, 4 Apr (Kanaga Raja) -- Members of the World Trade Organisation
(WTO) were "not eager" to engage in negotiations at this
stage on a multilateral register of geographical indications (GIs)
for wines and spirits, the Chair of the Special Session of the TRIPS
Council has said, in reporting on his consultations.
According to trade officials, at an informal meeting of the Special
Session on 1 April, the Chair, Ambassador Alfredo Suescum of Panama,
said that most Members are reluctant to proceed with the negotiations
on the GI register for wines and spirits until a clearer picture emerges
with respect to the Doha Round as a whole.
The Chair further said that rather than focusing on how to work within
the mandate for creating the register, the consultations were dominated
by a discussion on linkages with other intellectual property (IP)
issues, and with the rest of the Doha Round.
Members therefore were "not eager" to engage in the negotiations
at this stage, and did not see that engagement would be possible,
the Chair reported.
Trade officials said that there were no comments from delegations
and that the informal meeting only lasted for about five minutes.
According to trade officials, Ambassador Suescum was reiterating a
statement that he had made in a General Council meeting earlier on
14 March 2014.
In his statement to the 14 March General Council, the Chair had reported
that he had held consultations with interested individual members
and groups on 10 and 11 March on how to take forward the work of the
TRIPS (Council) Special Session, and on how to reflect the process
in a post-Bali work programme on the remaining Doha Development Agenda
According to Ambassador Suescum, Members largely reiterated known
He had asked Members to focus on the mandate of the TRIPS Special
Session, but the consultations were dominated by discussions on the
issue of linkages with other IP issues and the wider Doha Round.
According to the Chair, some Members would like to see parallel work
on the GI Register, GI extension (proposal to extend to other products
the higher level of protection given to wines and spirits), and TRIPS/Convention
on Biological Diversity as a condition for work in the TRIPS Special
No proposals were made on how or where this parallelism could be managed,
said the Chair.
Other Members reject linkages, and would need assurances regarding
the TRIPS Special Session mandate before restarting work in this negotiating
Ambassador Suescum told the General Council that most Members were
not eager to engage, nor saw engagement as possible, until the overall
scope and balance of the post-Bali work programme becomes clearer.
Only a few Members suggested that technical work could progress on
the basis of the 2011 Draft Composite Text with respect to non-controversial
issues (e. g. notification format, S&D provisions).
The Chair said that the negotiations were described as complex and
difficult by both sides of the debate, even within the mandate of
the TRIPS Special Session.
There were no concrete novel ideas on how to advance the negotiations
of this group, said the Chair.
Under current circumstances, the Chair concluded, Members did not
seem ready to take forward substantive work on the GI Register as
a priority, nor do they seem, for the most part, prepared to work
on the GI register within the Special Session mandate.
Meanwhile, in formal mode, the Special Session of the TRIPS Council
appointed Ambassador Dacio Castillo of Honduras as its new Chair.