USDA reviews the Geographical Indications debate
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CTA. 2003. USDA reviews the Geographical Indications debate. Agritrade, October 2003. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10568/52659
External link to download this item: http://agritrade.cta.int/Back-issues/Agriculture-monthly-news-update/2003/October-2003
A Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report reviewing the debates...
A Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report reviewing the debates in the WTO on geographical indications (GI) was released by the USDA FAS in August 2003. It notes that the EU, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Moldova, India, Sri Lanka, Cuba, Pakistan, Thailand, Nigeria, Mauritius and Kenya favour broadening the scope of GI protection, while the USA, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Argentina and Uruguay oppose any broadening. In particular, the EU wants to treat GIs 'strictly as a matter of trade, rather than as an intellectual property matter' (see also the previous news item). It notes that the EU is proposing: to have international recognition move beyond wines and spirits to include other food stuffs; an international registration system for GIs in which all WTO members would participate; the restriction of the use of such registered terms. EU proposals would permanently restrict the use of such terms to those who have registered the terms. This would give the EU 'worldwide exclusive rights to terms, which they believe, represent a valuable marketing premium'. The USA believes that the EU proposals go beyond the Doha mandate. The paper outlines the scope of GI protection that the EU is seeking, including the list of the top 30 products to be covered, which range from well known wines and spirits (Champagne, Chianti, Chablis, Cognac, Porto, Sherry etc) to special cheese and meat products (such as Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Grana Padano, Jambon de Bayonne, Prosciutto di San Danielle) The USA sees the EU position on GIs as a product of the political dynamic of CAP reform, with certain EU member states believing that broader international recognition of GIs will serve to insulate EU farmers from any adverse income consequences of CAP reform. The Commission therefore wants to secure international agreement on GIs as a means of placating concerns in EU member states over the income effects of CAP reform. The paper notes that many of the divergences of opinion hinge upon problems of implementation, with the USA believing that the EU proposals would be costly and extremely difficult to implement. It thus prefers a voluntary system of notification of GIs and the use of existing trade-mark law. The paper explains in detail how the EU's system of GI protection works and contrasts this with the US approach. The USA argues that the EU system does not allow for the registration of foreign GIs, which, it argues, violates the 'national treatment' and 'most favoured nation' obligations established under Articles I and III of the GATT and Articles 3 and 4 of TRIPS. Comment: The failure to reach any agreement in Cancun will mean that the EU will increasingly push for recognition of GIs through bilateral and regional trade negotiations. ACP countries can expect the EU to take a hard line on recognition of EU GIs in the on-going EPA negotiations. Securing ACP endorsement of the EU's approach to GIs through regional and bilateral negotiations would greatly strengthen the EU's position in the WTO when it once again raises this issue.
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