13/03/2024-New Zealand amends its legal framework to comply with the FTA

Following the signature of the EU-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (EU-NZ FTA) in July 2023 (here the text published in the Official Journal of the EU), in January 2024, the New Zealand government submitted a draft Bill to the Parliament to amend the GIs (Wines and Spirits) Registration Act of 2006 .

First of all, as the EU-NZ FTA sets out a GI protection standard which is higher than the current one currently provided by the national law, the draft Bill introduces enforcement measures, including independent civil enforcement provisions as well as new administrative and border control measures.

Moreover, following the FTA Chapter 18 (intellectual property), each party undertook the obligation to recognize in its  jurisdiction a list of GIs from the counterpart. Accordingly, 1975 EU GIs (for wine, spirits and foodstuffs) will be protected in New Zealand; and 23 GIs from New Zealand (exclusively wines and spirits) will be protected in the EU (see the list of the GIs of both FTA parties in this attachment). The list can be amended in the future to  include new GIs. As a result, the draft Bill extends the GI definition in the New Zealand law to all goods beyond wines and spirits.However, the draft Bill limits such extension. Amendment to Section 3 of the Act of 2006 indicates that the new law will recognize food GIs only for those goods originating in a country that is a member state of the EU and is listed in the Annex 18-B of the EU-NZ FTA. The reason behind this “limited” expansion is probably related to the results of the public consultations on the amendments to the GI Act of 2006.

The draft Bill is currently progressing through the Parliamentary process, having passed through the first reading. At the moment, the Select Committee gathers information and prepares a report on the bill for the House, including recommending changes to the bill. This report is due on April 3rd 2024.

For more information on bilateral and multilateral Agreements covering GIs, you can consult the dedicated section of the oriGIn website.

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