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Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Patricia Covarrubia

A cheese solution: is this healthy for a FTA?


From Marques Class 46 blog I read that the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano has submitted in Colombia an application for recognition of its Parmigiano Reggiano as an Appelation of Origin (AO).

Colombia being part of the Andean Community of Nation (formed by Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru) operates a customs union similar to the EU and it boasts a common IP regime governed by Decision 486. Geographical Indication is found under Title XII and AO definition under Art 201, regulating though this subject.

Under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed between the EU and Colombia and Peru, Parmiggiano Reggiano appears on the list (more than 200 products are listed – only 4 are from Colombia and Peru). Looking further the FTA, under title VII named Geographical Indications (GI), clarifies that GI of a Party to be protected by the other Party, shall only be subject to this Title if they are recognised and declared as such in the country of origin. This implies that the parties each accept that the other party’s domestic examinations are also sufficient for their domestic market. As we may know Parmiggiano Reggiano not only enjoys protection in its own country but in the whole European Union (also in those Members States that are parties to the Lisbon Agreement since this GI has been registered under this regime).

That said, here comes my questioning: why is the Consorzio looking for this further protection? There is the issue that though the FTA has been signed, it has not entered into force as yet -- is this a sign? I feel that this cheese does not smell right.

Moreover, will the other 228 EU products apply for this recognition? Or is just this stinky cheese that wants to have another slice of protection?

Patricia Covarrubia

Patricia Covarrubia