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Cablegate: Eu Geographical Indications Already Affect South

Published: Tue 19 Jul 2005 05:53 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 PRETORIA 002834
SIPDIS
DEPT PLS PASS TO ALEAP COLLECTIVE
DEPT FOR EB/TPP/IPE SWILSON; AF/S KGAITHER
USDOC FOR 4510/ITA/IEP/ANESA/OA/JDIEMOND
COMMERCE ALSO FOR HVINEYARD
TREASURY FOR BRESNICK AND CUSHMAN
DEPT PASS USPTO FOR MADLIN
DEPT PASS USTR FOR PCOLEMAN, WJACKSON, AND VESPINEL
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KIPR ETRD SF USTR
SUBJECT: EU GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS ALREADY AFFECT SOUTH
AFRICA
REF: STATE 131291
1. Summary. There are a number of examples of South
African food products currently on the shelves in major
retail stores in Pretoria that would be affected by the
European Commission's WTO proposal(s) on Geographical
Indications (GIs). South Africa already recognizes EU GIs
for wine and spirits through bilateral agreements balanced
heavily in favor of the EU. Developing countries ought to
take a look at these agreements and consider the equities
and the costs of what such a system would mean for them.
End summary.
2. The European Commission's WTO proposal(s) on
Geographical Indications (GIs) would require changes in the
labels that South African food companies have used to market
their domestically produced products. The following are
examples of South African products currently on the shelves
in major retail stores in Pretoria. Many of these products
compete with the imported product on the same shelf. For
example, while many of the products feature the flag and map
of Italy with the logo "regional taste of Italy", only a
close examination of the label indicates whether the product
is actually imported from Italy or a product of South
Africa.
Cheese:
Brie
Camembert
Feta
Gouda
Gruyere
Halloumi
Mascarpone
Mozzarella
Pecorino
Provolone
Parmaggio
Ricotta
Olives:
Calamata Olives
Kalamati Olives
Manzinilla Olives
Vesuvio Olive oil
Miscellaneous food products:
Provencale tomato and basil rub
Bulgarian fat free yoghurt
Portuguese peri peri rub
Chicken viennas
Smoked viennas
Smoked and skinless frankfurters
Non-EU GIs:
Cape Malay curry powder
Thai red curry paste
Thai stir fry oil
Mozambican style peri peri
Indonesian sweet soya sauce
3. The above names are extensively used by such South
African brands as Simonsberg, Clover, Dairy Bell, Pick 'n
Pay Choice, Woolworth Foods, Cremona & sons, Tee-Tee
dairies, Parmalat, and Tuna Marine. Major South African
retailers are actively marketing many of these brands
elsewhere in sub-Sahara Africa.
Wine and Spirits - already compromised with EU
--------------------------------------------- -
4. For countries interested in understanding what the EU
would like to achieve with regard to GIs for wine and
spirits globally, South Africa is a good place to start.
South Africa has already compromised itself on these
products by binding itself three years ago to the EU's
scheme in supplemental agreements to a bilateral trade and
cooperation agreement. The text of the wine agreement alone
is 102 pages long. It contains a list arranged by EU member
state with the names of regions and cities, and the names of
hundreds of communes or parts of communes. The list for
Germany is 19 pages long while France's takes up 13 pages.
The most astute consular officers would be challenged to
locate most of these communes in their own consular
districts. It covers the wine products listed in reftel
(e.g., Champagne, Beaujolais, Bordeaux, Chablis, Chianti,
Moselle, Saint-Emilion). The agreement prohibits any use of
protected indications even when:
The true origin of the wine is indicated;
The geographic indication is used in translation;
The indications are accompanied by expressions such as
"kind," "type," "style," "imitation," "method" or the
like.
5. The agreement's enforcement provisions require in cases
where there is a breach of the protected names that the
Contracting Parties shall apply the necessary administrative
measures and/or initiate legal proceedings as appropriate in
order to combat unfair competition or to prevent in any way
unfair use of the protected names.
6. A separate 13-page agreement on "spirits" specifically
protects the EU names of Grappa, Ouzo, Korn, Kornbrandd,
Jagatee, and Pacharan (i.e., those GIs listed in reftel) as
well as other EU GIs in a list that is five pages long and
covers 16 categories ((e.g., rum, whisky, vodka, fruit
spirit). The South Africa list, on the other hand, has only
five names altogether in a single category, brandy.
7. A common complaint of developing countries and LDCs is
that they do not have the capacity to implement the WTO
Agreements they have already acceded to under the Uruguay
Round. If they want to experience a real nightmare of
capacity constraints, they ought to consider the EU list of
GIs in the agreement with South Africa. In terms of equity,
they should also consider this gem in the prefaces of the
bilateral accords: "Desirous of creating favorable
conditions for the harmonious development of trade and the
promotion of commercial cooperation in the wine sector on
the basis of equality, mutual benefit and reciprocity."
More specifically, developing countries and LDCs ought to
ask themselves the following questions in considering the EU
proposals at the WTO:
-- In terms of equality, mutual benefit and reciprocity, how
many GIs are they likely to want to list from their own
country versus the number the EU wants for its GIs?
-- In terms of enforcement, can they really afford to
undertake new obligations to spend scarce legal resources to
enforce EU GIs?
-- Isn't there a more affordable and less cumbersome way for
countries to protect their valued GIs without resorting to
the EU proposal?
8. The texts of the protocols between South Africa and the
EU are in the Official Journal of the European Communities L
28/104 30.1.2002 and on the following website:
www.tralac.org/pdf/L284_nhsp_Agreement_nbsp_W ine.pdf.
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