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Collection of full-length papers and in-depth analysis of economic and management issues.

Possible Obstacle to Korea-EU FTA Talks: Geographical Indications

Possible Obstacle to Korea-EU FTA Talks: Geographical Indications

KIM Deuk-Kab

July 3, 2007

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GIs provide protection for products that denote their place of origin as an intrinsic part of their intellectual property rights, if names of these products are linked to specific geographical areas, connoting qualities inherent to a place or region. Some examples are Champagne, Bordeaux wine, Roquefort cheese, and Parma ham.

Currently, approximately 5,000 products in Europe are afforded GI protection. Some 80% of them are wines and liquors. The rest are agricultural products and foodstuffs e.g. cheese, meat, fruit, olive oil and mineral water.

For Korea, the issue at hand is how it should respond when the EU demands GI protection not only to wines and liquors but also to a broad array of agricultural products. The EU is paying close attention to the handling of this issue. The Korea-EU FTA is likely to be the first FTA that applies GI protection to agricultural products. To be sure, European producers already have lobbied to ensure that GI protection be included in any FTA between the EU and Korea. GI products make up a substantial portion of the EU's agricultural exports. In this respect, GIs will be a major intellectual property rights issue during the negotiations (along with regulations on counterfeit goods) at the second round of Korea-EU FTA talks, scheduled for July 16-20.

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