International trade and protection of geographical indications
In an increasingly globalised marketplace, geographical indications stand out as an instrument to protect at international level what is unique and valuable at the local and regional level.
High-quality, renowned products are frequently the target of counterfeiting, in particular the copying and passing off of well-known geographical indications, such as 'Chablis', 'Queso Manchego' or 'Prosciutto di Parma'. This is a problem that affects all kinds of intellectual property rights and results from weak legal systems of protection and/or enforcement.
The EU has concluded agreements that include geographical indication protection with many trade partners. The level of protection granted and the list of the protected geographical indications in each contracting party is defined in each agreement.
List of countries (in alphabetical order)
Types of agreement
- Wine agreement
- Spirits agreement
- Wines and spirits agreement
- Stand-alone geographical indication agreement
- Agreements containing a Geographical indications chapter
A significant benefit of the geographical indication policy, both bilateral and multilateral initiatives, has been to encourage non-EU countries to adopt and develop systems of protection for their speciality and regional products – to the benefit of consumers and producers in the countries concerned.
The EU has granted protection for many non-EU geographical indications in wines, spirits and agricultural products and foodstuffs in the EU through bilateral agreements and direct registrations.
As well as making available such quality products to EU consumers, this process has helped to build a global consensus for the protection of local and regional speciality products.