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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05WELLINGTON816
2005-10-20 02:00:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Wellington
Cable title:  

NEW ZEALAND SUPPORTS U.S. POSITION ON GEOGRAPHIC

Tags:   ETRD  EAGR  ECON  NU  KIPR  NZ  WTRO 
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 WELLINGTON 000816 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/ANP/RICCI AND EB/IPE/WILSON
STATE PASS TO USTR MULLANEY
USDA FOR FAS/ITP/ZIMMERMAN, MIRELES, AND HURST AND
FAS/FAA/YOUNG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD EAGR ECON NU KIPR NZ WTRO
SUBJECT: NEW ZEALAND SUPPORTS U.S. POSITION ON GEOGRAPHIC
INDICATIONS IN WTO

REF: SECSTATE 180474



1. Summary: New Zealand shares the concern of the United
States that the EU and others may attempt to hold up
negotiations at the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial unless
their demands on geographical indications (GIs) are met.
New Zealand will work closely with the United States to
prevent this from occurring. New Zealand supports U.S.
efforts to keep the discussion of geographical
indications in the TRIPS Council and outside of the
negotiations taking place within the Agriculture
Committee. End Summary.



2. Embassy's Agricultural Attache met with Reuben
Levermore, Policy Officer at the Trade Negotiations
Division of New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
Trade, to discuss issues raised reftel. New Zealand
views the primary focus of the agriculture negotiations
as the improvement of market access and concurs with the
United States that singling out products of particular
groups of producers for special intellectual property
protection is not compatible with meeting this goal. New
Zealand does recognize the value of GIs and supports
preserving the integrity of GIs within the context of the
TRIPS Agreement. New Zealand also shares our concern
that negotiating GIs in two separate WTO Committees
undermines the effectiveness of one set of rules and runs
the risk of creating conflicting agreements and
obligations.



3. New Zealand fully appreciates that GI-related
obligations established in the Agriculture Committee
would be outside the context of intellectual property and
therefore would pose a risk of interfering with WTO
member countries' ability to individually implement GI
obligations in accordance with national laws. New
Zealand also is concerned that GI obligations set under
the Agriculture Committee could upset the careful balance
established in the TRIPS Agreement between trademarks and
GIs.



4. New Zealand will vigorously oppose EU efforts to
establish provisions in the agriculture agreement that
will obligate companies in all WTO Member states to
abandon generic terms used to describe products if the EU
considers the term a GI. New Zealand industry would
potentially face significant marketing and trade costs if
GI protection were afforded to products on the EU's
clawback list. New Zealand further views the regulatory
costs imposed on governments by such an action as trade
inhibiting.



5. Extending GI protection to the EU's clawback list
would be particularly harmful to New Zealand's dairy
industry (feta, parmesan, gorgonzola, and mozzarella
cheese products) and wine (port and sherry). Also of
concern to New Zealand is the potential impact of
Greece's GI claim on kalamata olives.




6. New Zealand supported the United States last July at a
Rome meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. The
EU had been inappropriately using Codex to advance its
interest in geographical indication recognition of
"parmesan" and had been blocking the development of an
international Codex standard for this cheese type. New
Zealand, along with the United States, argued for the
development of a standard, maintaining that parmesan is
internationally recognized as being a generic name and
that consumers do not expect parmesan cheese to
necessarily originate from the "Parma" region. New
Zealand expressed the view at the Rome meeting that Codex
was not the appropriate forum for the issue of GI
protection to be addressed, but rather the World
Intellectual Property Organization and the WTO Agreement
on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property
(TRIPS).



7. New Zealand may soon enter into negotiations with the
EU related to wines and spirits. New Zealand looks
forward to this as an opportunity to address access
issues for its products in EU markets and anticipates
that the EU will seek to gain New Zealand GI recognition
for clawback listed products. While these generic names
are commercially less important today to New Zealand's
wine industry than previously, the local trade seeks to
preserve future rights. A New Zealand court ruled in the
early 1990s that Champagne could not be used on
Australian product sold in New Zealand. The court
reserved its ruling exclusively for this product and no
other judicial determination or New Zealand law affords
GI protection to other products found on the EU's
clawback list.



8. New Zealand firmly opposes the EU's intent to achieve
the results for geographical indications called for in
the October 10 Statement of its Conditional Negotiating
Proposals in the Doha Round. This includes the EU's
request to engage on "intensive negotiations on the
Register and to have a firm agreement in Hong Kong to
commence negotiations immediately on the extension of the
register" from wine and spirits to include GIs for other
products. New Zealand agrees with the U.S. position that
the EU's proposed register goes beyond the mandate in the
TRIPS Agreement and in DOHA to establish a voluntary
system and opposes EU efforts to create an automatic
supranational system that establishes binding GI rights
on all WTO members for all products. New Zealand further
agrees with the United States that Article 23 Extension
are not validated by evidence that existing TRIPS
obligations for protection of other products is
inadequate. In addition to the policy considerations
expressed above, New Zealand's position on GIs takes into
account its economic assessment that the EU's efforts to
obtain a "more certain legal environment" (enhanced) for
marketing its products globally through increased GI
protection would result in significant real costs and
commercial uncertainty for New Zealand's own agricultural
trade.
BURNETT