Starting with the 2009 Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with South Korea, the EU has achieved increased external protection for some of its Geographical Indications (GIs), such as Prosciutto di Parma. This is achieved by specifying a level of protection above WTO Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) for FTA-specific lists of GIs.
Geographical Indications in EU Trade Agreements
Statistical analysis of newly coded data for 11 FTAs shows that GIs with higher sales values are more likely to be protected. In contrast, the data do not support the hypothesis of lobbying by large and GI-rich countries. At first sight, these findings suggests a cost-benefit approach at protecting GIs outside of the EU. Yet one could question the overall benefit, since only about €1 billion of EU GI foodstuffs is exported outside of the EU. Identity aspects and the need to obtain public support for free trade seem to trump pure economic concerns in this area.
Keywords: European Union, Trade, Intellectual Property, Agriculture