GLOBAL: Geographical indication key to WTO breakthrough?
Peter Mandelson, the European Union's (EU) trade commissioner may have to push aggressively for agreement on creating a mandatory World Trade Organisation (WTO) geographical indication register to avoid future political problems in Geneva.
Although the WTO Doha Development Round negotiations collapsed on Tuesday (29 July) over developing country import tariffs, the talks have not been abandoned and are expected to resume at a technical level in the autumn.
However, the row over poor country tariffs overshadowed a looming problem for Mandelson - a growing alliance of EU countries opposed to the overall Doha food and drink liberalisation deal in the table, led by France and including Italy.
If the talks begin again in earnest, the trade Commissioner will need to prevent this bloc from tying his hands at the EU Council of Ministers.
Diplomats in Geneva have told just-drinks that one way of breaking this alliance could be securing agreement over a geographical indication register and extending it to food products. Italy in particular is said to be very keen on an expanded global register, enabling its producers to stop American and Chinese manufacturers from using Italian geographical terms to describe drinks and food.
"Mandelson may have to push hard on this if he wants to break the alliance," one diplomat told just-drinks.
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