#EU #China #Mercosur #Mexico #Japan: Update on bilateral negotiations
The European Parliament voted on the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) early in 2017. The EU national parliaments must approve CETA before it takes full effect.
Meanwhile, some issues remain to be clarified, in particular:
- the level of protection of EU and Canadian wines and spirits protected under the European Community and Canada on trade in wine and spirit drinks (2003), in light of the GIs protection provided by CETA;
- the list of Canadian operators allowed, under certain circumstances, to continue to use certain labels in Canada in spite of the protection of certain EU agricultural GIs.
For the sake of legal certainty, oriGIn is in touch with the EU and Canadian institutions on both issues, to ensure the strongest level of protection to GIs under the CETA.
In June, the EU leaders and China reaffirmed their commitment to conclude a bilateral GIs agreement by the end of this year and agreed to publish for opposition the lists of GIs to be protected in the framework of the agreement.
oriGIn is monitoring the opposition process that followed the publication of the GIs lists as well as the finalization of the second list of GIs to be protected following the entry into force of the Agreement.
On 06 July, the EU and Japan have reached an overall deal on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement. The summary of the negotiations and principles agreed is available @ http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2017/july/tradoc_155693.doc.pdf
While some changes might still occur, with respect to GIs the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement will provide:
- A high level of protection for a list of EU and Japanese GIs (foodstuffs, wines and spirits);
- Direct protection of GIs under the FTA and removal of all associated charges or taxes for users;
- Protection of GIs in relationship with trade marks (TMs): rejection of subsequent TMs in the other Party’s system, also in the case of GIs which have only been published, while coexistence with pre-existent TM is addressed;
- Administrative enforcement of protection in addition to enforcement on request and civil remedies;
- Phasing out of prior uses identified on the Japanese market within 5 years after entry into force of the Agreement for alcoholic beverages, and within 7 years for foodstuff GIs;
- Possibility to add new GIs to list of GIs protected under the agreement.
oriGIn will keep monitoring the negotiations and in particular the publication of the GIs lists.
A 3th round of negotiations is taking place this week (03 to 07 July) and an agreement could be concluded by the end of the year.
oriGIn is pushing for the final agreement to:
- Provide a solid level of protection in such markets: the protection provided via the Agreement should include translations, the possibility of coexistence between existing trademarks and GIs as well as enforcement mechanisms;
- Ensure the GI definition in the Agreement is in line with the TRIPs Agreement;
- Make sure that EU and Mercosur GIs with export in the counterpart and misappropriations are included in the GIs lists to be protected under the agreement.
A deal is also possible before the end of the year, while a controversial national GIs law in Mexico could raise problems as to the protection of foreign GIs in Mexico. In this respect, oriGIn has sent the Mexican authorities its comments on the risks of such law.
The European Commission will soon ask the Council a mandate to start negotiations with Australia, New Zealand and Chile.
The consequences of the European Court of Justice’s ruling on FTAs
Mid May, the European Court of Justice ruled that EU has exclusive competence on all the chapters of FTAs, other than portfolio investment and investor state dispute settlement. This means that agreements covering these chapters need to be ratified by the EU and its Member States, as well as regions in some Member States.