- The Government has published a list of over 400 product names the European Union (EU) wants Australia to protect as geographical indications (GIs) for public objection.
- Submissions from concerned parties in relation to the protection of the proposed EU GI names must be made by 13 November 2019.
The Australian Government has been negotiating with the EU for a new Free Trade Agreement, aimed at giving more commercial opportunities to Australian exporters. The EU has identified the protection of GIs was one of its key objectives in the negotiations.
A GI identifies a product as originating in a specific region where a particular quality, reputation or other characteristic of the product is attributable to that geographic origin, e.g. Champagne, Scotch Whiskey.
List of GIs the EU is seeking to protect
DFAT has published a list of over 400 product names (including 236 spirit names and 172 agricultural and other foodstuff names) the EU wants Australia to protect as GIs. This list is open for public objection.
The GI names relate to a range of sectors including dairy, meat, smallgoods, horticulture, confectionery, oils, beer and spirits. Australia has many transplanted Italian, Greek, Croatian and otherEuropean communities and is rich with a range of European foods. Australia is thereby particularly vulnerable to the grant of many GIs that relate to European foods.
The EU seeks relatively broad protection, including against any packaging that is liable to convey a false or misleading impression of the product’s origin, nature or essential qualities (including when the products are used as an ingredient).
Who should lodge an objection?
DFAT is seeking submissions from stakeholders in relation to any concerns they may have regarding the protection of individual EU GI names. Australia does not have to agree to any GI protections. However, in the context of the trade negotiations, a concession on many GIs is a possible result. It is therefore very important that anyone adversely impacted has their say.
Visit the DFAT website (at https://dfat.gov.au/trade/agreements/negotiations/aeufta/public-objections-gis/Pages/default.aspx) to find out more and lodge your objection. Submissions must be made by 13 November 2019. If you would like any assistance with a submission, feel free to contact us at https://www.mallon.legal/contact/
By Claire Ramsay and Paul Mallon