The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the EU and Singapore, which was initialed in September 2013 and is expected to be effective by the end of 2014, paved the way for a new GI law adopted by the Singaporean Parliament.
The new law provides for enhanced protection for GIs, improved border enforcement measures and establishes a GIs registry (which will be effective though after the ratification of the FTA between Singapore and the EU). Previous to that, GIs were protected in Singapore under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) minimum standards of protection.
Once the law is in force, EU PDO/PGI will be allowed to apply for registration in the national GI registry, including the 196 PDO/PGI submitted by the EU in the framework of the FTA negotiations. All applications for GI registration will undergo a three-stage process: (i) application; (ii) examination; and (iii) publication/pre-grant opposition. If no opposition is received in respect of a GI application before the end of the publication/pre-grant opposition period, that GI will proceed to registration.
Indranee Rajah, Minister of Singapore State for Law, said in Parliament that “Singaporeans increasingly consume food products from all over the world”, so they need to know that the products they buy “truly carry the characteristics that they are known for, and which are attributable to their geographical origin.”
On 9th and 10th April 2014, the VII International Ka´a He´ẽ – Stevia Symposium and the VI meeting of the American Stevia Federation were held in Asunción (Paraguay). The event was organized by a member of oriGIn – the Paraguayan Stevia Chamber (CAPASTE), the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Paraguay and Paraguay’s Export and Investment Network (REDIEX).
The “Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni” (in Guaraní – an indigenous local language – it is referred to as “ka’a he’ẽ”, which literally means sweet grass) is a plant native to Paraguay’s forest. A calorie-free natural sweetener – “steviol glycosides” – is extracted from such plant. As several medical studies proved a positive impact of Stevia on health (zero calories, not impacting the blood glucose is suitable for people with diabetes) its demand in Paraguay and abroad is rapidly increasing. Currently, Paraguay is the second country in the world in the production of Stevia.
High level national public authorities, Stevia producers, research institutions, scientists, companies involved in the Stevia business at various levels (import, export, transformation, etc), academics, etc., gathered at the international symposium for an up to date overview of the Stevia sector. For the first time, with the support of oriGIn, a panel on Geographical Indications (GIs) was introduced in the program to discuss the benefit of GIs in terms of sustainable development as well as the protection of the Ka´a He´ẽ– Stevia Paraguaya under the law on geographical indications and appellation of origin recently adopted by Paraguay (Ley Nº 4.923/2013).
oriGIn and some of its members from Latin America (the “Associação dos Produtores de Arroz do Litoral Norte Gaúcho”, the “Associação dos Carnicicultores da Costa Negra” and the “Consejo Regulador del Tequila”) attended the symposium and shared success stories on how GIs can serve sustainable development goals to the benefit of local populations. Furthermore, an oriGIn delegation participated in a meeting between the Stevia Paraguaya representatives and the Minister of Industry and Commerce of Paraguay, to push the implementation of GI-friendly policies in the country, both in terms of recognition and value added of national GIs as well as protection of foreign GIs.
More information available @ http://capaste.org.py/ & (only in Spanish) @ http://www.abc.com.py/edicion-impresa/economia/asia-hoy-es-el-mayor-productor-de-kaa-he-1233696.html