The EU has a rich history of local and specialized agricultural production. Many famous European products are closely linked to their place of origin: Parma Ham, Roquefort cheese, or Champagne, to name just a few. As a result, Geographical Indications (GIs)—forms of identification that certify that a product has originated in a region or locality in a particular country—are a very important part of EU policy.
The reputation for quality or authenticity of a GI product is intimately linked to its geographical origin, and over the years European countries have taken the lead in identifying and protecting their Geographical Indications.
Many famous GIs today have origins in developed countries, including Cognac, Roquefort cheese, Napa Valley wines, Scotch whisky, Sherry, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Tuscany olives. However, GIs are also important for developing countries as they can protect and preserve intellectual property related to traditional cultures, geographical diversity, and production methods.
Wider protection for Geographical Indications from around the world is a key goal for the EU in the ongoing WTO Doha Round of world trade negotiations.
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