Food Law News - FAO/WHO/WTO/Codex - 2005

WTO News Item, 20 April 2005

LABELLING WTO dispute body adopts rulings on EC protection of geographical indications

The Dispute Settlement Body on 20 April 2005 adopted the panel report on the European Communities' protection of trademarks and geographical indications for agricultural products and foodstuffs. It also adopted the Appellate Body and panel reports on the United States ' measures affecting the cross-border supply of gambling and betting services. At the same meeting, the United States informed the DSB of its intentions regarding implementation in the subsidies on upland cotton case.

Note: This is an extract from full news item:

When a panel report comes out, it is either adopted by the Dispute Settlement Body or appealed by one or more parties to the dispute. When the Appellate Body report comes out, it is automatically adopted by the DSB unless there is consensus to reject it and becomes binding.

Adoption of panel report

DS174 & DS290: European Communities Protection of trademarks and geographical indications for agricultural products and foodstuffs

The US said that the panel report provided useful guidance with respect to geographical indications. The US commented, inter alia, on the discriminatory nature of the EC geographical indications (GI) regulation, on the necessity for the EC to provide foreign companies with direct access to its GI registry, and also on the relationship between GIs and trademarks.

Australia welcomed the adoption of the report. Australia commented on the discrepancy between the EC's ambitious agenda on GIs in the Doha negotiations and its problems with its own domestic GI regime.

The EC was disappointed that the panel failed to acknowledge how EC regulation allowed foreign and European GIs to register on the same conditions. The EC, however, was very pleased that the panel found the key aspects of the EC regime on GIs to be compatible with WTO rules.

Canada was pleased that the panel corroborated Canada 's claim that the EC regulation violated the principle of national treatment.

India noted the panel's finding that national treatment obligations cannot be conditioned on reciprocity.

The DSB adopted the panel report.

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