Schwab: US Will Not Negotiate On Extension Of Geographical Indications At WTO22/07/2008 by Kaitlin Mara, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service and depends on subscriptions. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate.By Kaitlin Mara United States Trade Representative Susan Schwab on Tuesday told reporters at the World Trade Organization that the United States does not plan to negotiate this week on the extension of high-level protections on product names associated with locations to products other than wines and spirits.“We are not currently engaged on that subject, nor do we intend to be,” Schwab told a press briefing at WTO headquarters. “We do not think that that is a good idea.” Trade ministers from about 40 countries are in Geneva for a mini-ministerial scheduled from 21-27 July.Schwab repeated the opposition view that “there is no mandate” in the Doha Development Agenda to discuss extension of protection for these product names, called geographical indications.The United States has, as part of the Doha talks, “shared in the commitment to a negotiation on a GI register, affecting wines and spirits,” she said. “That is part of this negotiation, and we are working with the EU and others who have an interest in that.”A multilateral GI register for wines and spirits is mandated under the 1994 WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and in the Doha Round [TRIPS Article 23.4, Doha Declaration paragraph 18], but there has been some disagreement among members as to its nature (mandatory or voluntary; legally binding or not) and its scope.More than 100 of the WTO’s 153 members have urged ministers this week to agree on negotiations on the GI extension and on a proposed TRIPS amendment aimed at boosting the protection of biodiversity and traditional knowledge. The European Union has said that the GI extension issue is critical to a successful outcome on other issues being focussed on this week, namely agriculture and non-agricultural market access. A smaller number of countries, such as the US, Australia, Chile, Mexico and Argentina have opposed the IP discussions.WTO Spokesman Keith Rockwell told a press briefing earlier this afternoon that “these talks [on intellectual property issues] have been very difficult.” WTO Director General Pascal Lamy has been “trying to help members facilitate some kind of accord” on the IP issues, that there has been “no progress on that front” to date.The issue of GI extension [also Doha Declaration paragraph 18] as well as examining the relationship [Doha Declaration paragraph 19] between the TRIPS agreement and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity fall under Doha Declaration paragraph 12(b) as “outstanding implementation issues” on which members are instructed to take “appropriate action.”Where members disagree, Rockwell said, is on what constitutes “appropriate action.” The European Union and Switzerland have been the strongest voices in support of GI extension. Supporters have grown for putting IP issues on the table this week after a linkage was made with those in favour of amending TRIPS to reflect CBD commitments. The latter issue is popular among developing countries, and has some 70 supporters – such as Brazil, India, and Peru – lobbying for the issue to receive ministerial attention.Kaitlin Mara may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Related"Schwab: US Will Not Negotiate On Extension Of Geographical Indications At WTO" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.