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Geographical indications in Latin America: key protection of agri-food products

In Latin America and Europe consumers are paying more attention than ever to the quality of agri-food products. Latin America and the EU are large global exporters of agricultural commodities and Brazil and Mexico are among the top five suppliers of agri-food products to the EU. All the more reason to join efforts and work together to enhance our markets.

The agri-food sector plays a strategic role that needs adequate intellectual property (IP) protection. In particular, geographical indications (GIs) are a key tool for SMEs producing local agri-food products in a defined geographical area. Their collective ownership and management, the link to tradition, and their commercial attractiveness make GIs one of the most suitable IP rights for agri-food SMEs. In total, Latin American countries have registered 118 GIs in Europe (2019 data).

IP Key Latin America encourages cooperation in GIs. In 2019, events open to regional stakeholders were planned and organised in Mexico (GI Enforcement Training for Customs), Portugal (EU Conference on GIs and the Lisbon Agreement — Geneva Act), Peru (Geographical Indications and Trademarks), and Costa Rica. Vivid and fruitful discussions raised crucial points, such as:

  • GIs are the EU’s rural intellectual property, protecting farmers and producers’ rights and guaranteeing authenticity and added value to consumers and society. According to external studies, products commercialised under a GI have 200 % more market value compared to those without;
  • the creation of organisations such as Origen España seek representation of the sector, protection of GIs, promotion and awareness of GI benefits;
  • study visits to Spain (2018) and Portugal (2019) gave Andean country representatives the opportunity to become familiar with the requirements, production methods, marketing and international perspectives of GIs in European countries.

Because continuity is essential for better results, the 2020 IP Key Latin America Annual Work Plan keeps on the right track and includes a set of activities focused on GIs in Mercosur countries. Just published, the 2020 annual work plan proposes the organisation of seminars on how to establish and market GI names. Seminars will analyse market-related issues, including the coexistence with trade marks, and the use of protected names, as established by the EU-MERCOSUR agreement.


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