EU seeking
GI protection

/ Michael Dow / News

The Australian Government is negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU). As part of the FTA, the EU wants a variety of geographical indications (GIs) to be protected.

A GI indicates that a product comes from a specific geographical area. Use of a GI may indicate that the product was made according to, eg, traditional methods or may indicate a certain reputation. An example is “Champagne”, which refers to the specific region of France known for its sparkling wine.

The EU is looking for protection of a specific list of GIs (236 spirit names and 172 agricultural and other foodstuff names) which includes the names such as: “Camembert de Normandie” for cheese, “Καλαμάτα or Kalamata” for olive oil, “Φέτα or Feta” for cheese and “Scotch Beef” for meat. The EU has confirmed examples of where the protection it is seeking would not extend to the use of parts of EU GI names which are identified in the list by text that has been underlined. The complete list of names can be found here.

As well as seeking protection for the specific GIs, the EU is seeking broader protections that would prevent use of the GIs accompanied by an expression such as “style”, “type”, “method”, “as produced in”, “imitation”, “flavour”, “like” or similar, including when those products are used as an ingredient.

Accordingly, Australian cheese makers would no longer be able to sell cheese as “Feta” or even “Feta-style” or “Feta-like”. The same applies to “Kalamata” olive oil.

Seems like the EU is asking too much. Your thoughts?

If you have any objections, they can be made here and must be received by 6pm AEST Wednesday 13 November 2019.