Understanding Geographical Indications

Understanding Geographical Indications
Wednesday 27 June 2018

Last week was all about Geographical Indications at the ANU Centre for European Studies (ANUCES). Three days of activities led by Adjunct Associate Professor Hazel Moir took place at ANUCES as part of an EU funded Jean Monnet project on Geographical Indications (GI) that aims to identify the evidence base underlying policies on GI and contribute to more effective negotiations between the European Union and Australia/New Zealand in the proposed comprehensive trade agreement.

The GI project was kicked off earlier this with a well-attended panel discussion in March, featuring Chief Agricultural Trade Negotiator for the EU–Australia Free Trade Agreement John Clarke, Bond University’s Professor William Van Caenegem, and Dairy Australia’s Charles McElhone. The 90 participants spanned government, industry, academia and the diplomatic community, including representatives from IP Australia, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, ANU, and the Embassies of Greece, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Slovak Republic, France, Germany and Norway. Our GI Visiting Fellow from Hungary Dr Áron Török then visited the National Farmers’ Federation in Canberra on 5 April and presented prelimineary GI research findings to the Trade Policy Committee of the National Farmers’ Federation.

All of this led up to last week's array of activities, which began with an invitation-only workshop on 19 and 20 June. The workshop reviewed empirical evidence, identifed policy implications and developed a priority agenda for further research into GI. Participants included those who have undertaken empirical work on GI, policymakers addressing rural development or food labelling issues, and a several lawyers who have worked on GI issues. Discussion referred to a Background Brief prepared by ANUCES GI Visiting Fellow Dr Áron Török that reviews the existing empirical literature. Sessions focused on critical issues such as the size of the GI market and the GI food chain and distance to market. The event asked questions such as: Is there an increase in net producer income from GI labelling? What is the impact of GI labelling on rural and regional productivity? Can GI labelling create positive impacts for relatively unknown products?

The workshop was immediately followed by a public policy forum on 21 June, entitled ‘Understanding Geographical Indications: What is the Evidence?’ This event presented the evidence and drew out the main policy and trade negotiation implications. It identified the major areas where there is a lack of knowledge, so that future policy–oriented research can be well directed. ANUCES has also been investigating the use of GIs in North–East Asia. A number of countries in this region appear to have a terroir concept similar to that in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. Preliminary results of this research, focusing on the history of regional speciality tributes in China, was presented at the policy forum, featuring special guest Professor Filippo Arfini from the Department of Economics at the University of Parma, Italy, and Deputy of the H2020 Strength2Food Project. ANUCES participants included Associate Director Dr Annmarie Elijah, Adjunct Associate Professor Hazel Moir, GI Visiting Fellow Dr Áron Török, and Associate and PhD student Wenting Cheng.

And that's not all. On 4 September Hazel and her team will host a Geographical Indications academic workshop in Berlin on 4 September. This will focus on priorities for policy–oriented research, bringing leading GI researchers together to assess the state of GI knowledge. By including agricultural policymakers in this workshop, research results will be scrutinised for policy relevance. The workshop will help to identify the priority issues where policymakers, particularly agricultural policymakers, are in need of better information and evidence. Visit the ANUCES Events page for more information coming soon.

For more information on this project, visit the Geographical Indications project page.

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Updated:  27 June 2018/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications