Member States gave their green light yesterday for an EU-Switzerland bilateral agreement for the protection of their respective Geographical Indications (GIs) for agricultural products and foodstuffs.
The agreement will protect the GIs of each of the two parties on the territory of the other. It covers the GI's registered before 15 September 2009 - approximately 800 GIs registered in the EU and 22 GIs registered in Switzerland. This will ensure that the entire range of Geographical Indications is protected, as the agricultural trade agreement between the EU and Switzerland, in force since 1 June 2002, already covers the protection of wines and spirit drinks.
The agreement also introduces a mechanism for updates and makes provision for regular consultations which will be of particular use when it comes to integrating new Geographical Indications.
Negotiations on this agreement were concluded in December 2009. The Agreement will be signed in the near future and sent to the European Parliament for its approval, after which it will enter into force.