Brussels, 29 July 2010
Conclusion of negotiations between the EU and Georgia on the protection of Geographical Indications
The European Union and Georgia concluded negotiations on a bilateral agreement for the protection of their respective "Geographical Indications". The text of the agreement was initialled today. This agreement will promote and foster trade in agricultural products and foodstuffs originating in the territories of both Georgia and the European Union.
Georgia is the first among the "EU Neighbourhood Countries" to take this important step forward in promoting and protecting the quality of the agricultural production. The use of a geographical indication will act as a certification that a product possesses certain qualities, or enjoys a certain reputation, due to the fact that it has been produced in a determined region and following specific procedures.
This agreement is a response to the willingness expressed by the EU Member States to promote the protection of Geographical Indications internationally and is a reflection of the converging views of the European Union and Georgia on matters like consumer protection and intellectual property.
Georgia is traditionally renowned for the quality of its agricultural production, its cuisine and its hospitality. The objective of these negotiations was to reduce misuses and abuses of the names of products. It will also better protect consumer rights in terms of not being misled on the true origin of the product, and the respect of traditions.
The development of the geographical indications will significantly contribute to the diversification of the wine production. The initial protection of 18 wine Geographical Indications originating from Georgia, such as Khvanchkara, Tvishi, Kindzmarauli, Saperavi, Mukuzani, and others, could be of stimulus and example for the application of this kind of protection in other categories of products. It might also encourage the development of new initiatives for tourism and the launch of new marketing strategies.
The Agreement should serve as a dynamic instrument that will lead to the improvement of the quality of the products traded between the European Union and Georgia. It will introduce a mechanism for updates and for regular consultations, which will be of particular utility when it comes to integrating new products in the list of the Geographical Indications.
Through this agreement, Georgia is adapting its domestic legislation to the highest international standards on the protection of intellectual property rights. The Geographical Indications system is a cornerstone of EU quality policy, with a steady progression of registrations. Today, around 3 000 products have been registered. These procedures will undoubtedly contribute to the development of those rural areas that have been producing wine and food following century long traditions.
Bilateral agreements have been concluded or are under negotiation with most of the EU's trading partners. The same position is defended by the EU at multilateral level, namely in the World Trade Organization.
The Agreement will have to be signed and submitted to the approval of the respective legislative authorities before its final entry into force.