In June 2018 the Australian Government launched negotiations for a comprehensive and ambitious Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU), which will provide increased commercial opportunities for Australian exporters. Consistent with its approach toward other FTA partners, the EU has identified the protection of geographical indications (GIs) as one of its key objectives in the negotiations.
A GI is essentially a name used on a product that has a specific geographical origin, and possesses qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. ‘Champagne’ is a well-known example of a GI. Once a GI is protected, the name may not be used except by producers who meet the rules protecting the GI.
The Government has made no commitment to protect EU GIs and will continue to consult closely with stakeholders on the issue of GIs.
The Government will defend Australia’s interests robustly, and will not take decisions on the protection of EU GIs until the end of the negotiations. It would only agree to protect certain specific terms if the overall outcomes, including on market access, were adequate to meet Australia’s interest.
Full information on EU GIs and the objections process is available at https://dfat.gov.au/aeufta/pop.
What GI names are the EU seeking to protect?
The EU has asked Australia to protect 236 spirit names and 172 agricultural and other foodstuff names as GIs in Australia. The names relate to a range of sectors including, dairy, meat, smallgoods, horticulture, confectionery, oils, beer and spirits.
AMIC in collaboration with the National Smallgoods Council are investigating the impact that the GI’s will have on our members and will pursue the line of advocacy to ensure our member’s rights are protected.