EU/Japan Trade Agreement Preserves GIs Despite U.S. Concerns
The European Commission (EC) announced on December 8, 2017, that discussions on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement had concluded. Among other things, the agreement ensures the protection in Japan of more than 200 Geographical Indications (GIs) for European agricultural products. In a press release on the agreement, EU commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan stated, “This agreement represents the most significant and far reaching deal ever concluded by the EU in agri-food trade.”
As reported on this blog in October, several U.S. dairy trade association had written to Japan’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, to urge Japan to respect current trade relationships with regard to GIs by ensuring that “generic names and terms remain accessible to all.” The associations suggested that the term “Parmigiano Reggiano” is an acceptable GI but that “parmesan” should be a generic term.
The Consortium for Common Foods Names (CCFN), along with the dairy trade associations, continue to work towards safeguarding common food and beverages names. CCFN announced that it worked with the Pan American Dairy Federation to develop a resolution requesting, in part, that the countries of the Americas: “Deny or reject the recognition and/or protection of foreign geographical indications as part of the negotiations of free trade agreements, if these could affect rights previously acquired in good faith or prevent that the common names in common language (also known as generic or of common use) can continue to be used to market dairy products in our countries;…” The resolution was issued November 30, 2017.