The Australian Government is negotiating a comprehensive and ambitious Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU).
An FTA with the EU, our second largest trading partner with a market of half a billion people, will provide increased commercial opportunities for Australian exporters and businesses, helping to create more jobs in Australia.
As part of the negotiations, the Government has published the list of Geographical Indications (GIs) the EU has asked Australia to protect.
In doing so, it has opened a public objections procedure to seek the views of Australian producers and businesses on specific GI names on the EU’s list.
A GI name identifies a product as originating from a specific geographic origin.
GI protection prevents the use of the protected name on a product that is produced outside of the identified region.
The EU already has a number of agreed GIs in place with both Australia and other markets, the most famous example being ‘Champagne’.
The Government wants to hear directly from Australian industry and stakeholders about their interests and objections so they can fully represent them in FTA negotiations.
The Government has made no commitment to protect EU GIs and understands the importance of this issue to some Australian businesses and consumers.
The Government will not be taking decisions on the protection of specific GI names until the end of the negotiations, and then only if the overall outcomes, including on market access, are in the best interests for Australia.
The EU has requested 408 names of spirits and food names to be protected as GIs within Australia.
The proposed list includes names such as Feta, Asiago, Gruyère, Kalamata olives, Parmigiano Reggiano, Scotch Beef and Grappa.
The EU is not requesting protection for a range of other food names that are in common use in Australia, such as the cheese names camembert, brie, mozzarella, emmental, pecorino, gouda, provolone, and the processed meat names prosciutto, speck and salami.
The public objections process is currently open, and will close on the 13th November 2019. Further information on how to complete a submission, along with the list of proposed GIs and FAQ can be found on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Tradewebsite.
The Government is also holding information sessions around Australia during the public objections procedure. Details of these sessions can be found on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Department of Agriculture websites.