Stretching the Imagination: Geographical Indications in the EU-Australia FTA Negotiations
The launch of negotiations for an EU-Australia ?free trade agreement? (FTA) on 18 June 2018 was a confirmation of a ?like-minded? strong partnership, in which both parties had high hopes for an ambitious agreement which would test the new wave of protectionism promoted by Donald Trump. Nonetheless, the initial rounds of negotiations revealed several issues which illustrate the scale of the challenge to be addressed. One such example was the issue of Geographical Indications (GI). The EU and its member states adopt an approach which is highly regulated and prescriptive to safeguard the authenticity of its produce and encourage rural development. Australia approaches this kind of intellectual property issue via a trademark system as well as a sui generis system to better capture the benefits of innovation. This paper analyses the challenges and opportunities an accord on GI?s could have for both regions, as revealed in the context of the EU-Australia negotiations. The paper claims that while an agreement on GI?s was an significant outcome for the overall FTA, the process adopted by the EU and Australia was in itself a reflection of the ambition for an amicable, dynamic and innovative negotiating process.