First Look

EU supports use of Geographical Indications in Jamaica

EUROPEAN UNION | 2015-07-23 00:00:00

Jamaica recently hosted the two-day Sub-regional Workshop on Branding and the Use of Geographical Indications in the Development of Management Strategies for Origin-Linked Products. It has allowed for Caribbean experts to discuss the relevance of Geographical Indications (GI) in determining and protecting a country's intellectual property and its importance to the region's economic development. The European Union has been a major advocate of the use of GI, such as Cognac, Roquefort cheese, and Parma ham, along with others all worth 53 Million Euro in the EU region alone. Thus, the EU has provided financial assistance to the Caribbean Export Development Agency, as well as support through the programmes linked to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and CARIFORUM to develop the use of GI's across the Caribbean.

Apart from the EU Ambassador, who addressed the participants in the opening session, the European Union was represented through Mr. Jürgen Köhler, from the Directorate General of Agriculture and Rural Development in the European Commission. He moderated a discussion on the drafting of a Geographical Indication Specification on the Workshop's second day.

Presentations covered a wide range of developments in securing GI's for Caribbean products. Included in this was the concrete perspective for Jamaican Jerk as the country's first GI. From Belize, the Toledo Cacao Growers Association, which recently received EU funding, also took part in discussion as the organisation seeks to register its distinctive product as "Toledo cacao". Other promising GI's will also include Grenada Nutmeg, Trinidad and Tobago Cocoa and Antigua Black Pineapple.

Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Jamaica, Paola Amadei, gave remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the Workshop, and spoke of the potential of Geographical Indications to the Caribbean: The European Union is convinced of the untapped potential that Geographical Indications have for the Caribbean's economic development. Through our Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with CARIFORUM, the European Union pledged its support for the development and protection of specific Caribbean geographical indications, and committed itself to cooperate on the development of geographical indication systems in all CARIFORUM states. I am delighted to note that Jamaica is submitting Jamaican Jerk and Belize its Cacao as GI's and hope that other Caribbean products of excellence will follow.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, the Hon. Anthony Hylton, praised the implementation of the EPA through initiatives such as the Workshop and the support to the Jamaican Bureau of Standards, adding: I was sceptical at the time of the negotiations of the EPA but I see tremendous benefits in the EPA's implementation and the development of standards and brands"


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