Public consultations on possible reforms to geographical indications regulatory framework

DFAT have launched a public consultation process on possible reforms to Australia’s regulatory framework for the protection of geographical indications (GIs). Australia is currently negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU). Consistent with its approach toward other FTA partners, the EU has identified the protection of GIs as one of its key goals.

Last year, the Australian Government ran a public objections process in relation to the specific terms the EU has asked Australia to protect as GIs. The Government has made no commitment to protect specific EU GIs, and has made clear it would only consider doing so if the overall FTA deal is in Australia’s interests. In particular, the final deal must provide Australia with commercially-significant, new market access, including for our agricultural products.

Should Australia agree to protect specific EU GI terms through the FTA and change the way we currently protect GIs, we would need to amend our law. The purpose of the new consultations process is to seek the views of Australian producers, businesses and consumers on policy considerations to inform the possible development of a new Australian GI right. Your views will help ensure any new regulatory framework, should one be developed, best serves the interests and the needs of Australian farmers, businesses and consumers.

Nothing in this consultation means the Australian Government has agreed or will agree, to make any changes to its existing GI regulatory framework or policy.
The consultation process will run until 30 November. There are a number of ways you can engage in the consultations process, including by providing a submission, completing an online survey, or attending an online webinar or roundtable.

Further details on the consultations process, including a consultation paper, can be found here.

The ECA encourages you to participate in this process. We also ask you to send your comments to us as well so we can continue to advocate on your behalf as the AU – EU FTA negotiations continue