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The Aroma of Opportunity: The Potential of Wine Geographical Indications in the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement

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Abstract: As the Australian federal government seeks greater economic and trade integration with its regional neighbours, this chapter reviews the potential to include Australian wine Geographical Indications (GIs) in current Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with India in the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). FTA’s have been characterised as a ‘spaghetti bowl’ of bi-lateral and multi-lateral agreements in the the Asia Pacific region, leading to a debate about harmonisation, integration and codification of GIs in international trade negotiations. There are two distinct methods of including Intellectual Property (IP) content within FTA’s: the minimum level of regulation, under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), termed ‘TRIP-minus’ and a comprehensive regulatory and protection regime, termed ‘TRIPS-plus’. Both Australia and India have adopted a TRIPS-minus approach to FTA negotiations, reiterating the minimum GI standards under Section 22 of the TRIPS agreement. This is despite the high export value of Australia’s wine GIs to India and India’s extensive and stringent national GI system. Australian wine industry associations continue to lobby the federal government to include wine GIs in Australia’s FTA negotiations asserting that a TRIPS-plus trade position will boost Australia’s wine exports, meet consumer demand for wine and support local producer communities. Using the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) as an example of heightened TRIPS-plus GI protection and development in regional FTA’s, this chapter concludes with a recommendation to include an annexure in the current CECA negotiations in recognition of the value GIs represent in the Australian agricultural sector.

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