Canada is currently negotiating two major international trade agreements and my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version
, homepage version
) notes that while it may seem hard to believe, their successful completion may ultimately depend on the level of protection provided to Parma ham. The Canada – European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) are both facing increasing opposition based on European demands to expand protection for “geographical indications.”
Geographical indications (GI) are signs used on goods – frequently food, wine, or spirits – that have a specific geographical origin and are said to possess qualities, reputation or characteristics that are essentially attributable to that place of origin. Given the quality associated with the product, proponents of GI protection argue that it is needed to avoid consumer confusion as well as to protect legitimate producers.
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