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With an eye on GIs and AOs, Paraguay hosts Mercosur-EU negotiations

By Berkemeyer Attorneys & Counselors - 06/03/2018
With an eye on GIs and AOs, Paraguay hosts Mercosur-EU negotiations

From February 19 to March 2, representatives from South America's Mercosur bloc and the European Union are carrying out in the city of Asunción a new round of negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA). "Since 2015, very important advances have been made”, said in Asunción Luis Fernando Ávalos, representative of Paraguay, which currently holds Mercosur's rotating presidency.
After several years of stalled conversations, in May 2016 the EU and Mercosur relaunched exchanges hoping to announce in the near future an agreement for a FTA, although current negotiations still need to find settlement in issues like tariffs, services and intellectual property.

Specifically, for the EU is underlying that the members of Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) secure absolute protection of European Geographical Indications (GIs) and Appellations of Origin (AOs), a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. "The goal of the new EU-Mercosur trade deal is to protect quality EU food and drink products from imitations”, states part of a document published in the website of the European community.

In that regard, last year the Paraguayan National Intellectual Property Office (Dinapi) held informative meetings with public and private institutions to update on the negotiation and analyze the demands of the European Union related to Geographical Indications and Appellations of Origin. Dinapi also ordered the publication of a list of Geographical Indications and/or Appellations of Origin, from the European Union, whose recognition was requested by the EU on October 27, 2017 within the framework of the negotiations of the free trade agreement.

The list was published so than any Paraguayan natural or legal person could file oppositions against any of those GIs and/or AOs. Nearly 300 products from 23 nations were part of it, among them cheeses, hams, cured meats, lambs, olive oils, salmons, breads, honeys, cakes, fruits, beers, wines, vodkas, whiskeys and liquors. Some of the most well-known globally are Champagne from France, Manchego Cheese from Spain and Scotch Whiskey from the United Kingdom. 

By Berkemeyer Attorneys & Counselors - 06/03/2018
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