EU agrees protected origin status with Switzerland and Liechtenstein

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union, International trade

EU exports to Switzerland amount to € 5.7bn a year.
EU exports to Switzerland amount to € 5.7bn a year.
The EU has agreed with Switzerland and Liechtenstein to protect geographical indications for agricultural products and foodstuffs in their respective territories.

If a link can be established between the characteristics of foods and their geographical origin, they may qualify for either a protected geographical indication (PGI) or a protected designation of origin (PDO).

The latest agreement covers about 800 Geographical Indications (GIs) within the EU and 22 GIs of Switzerland, two of them covering also the territory of Liechtenstein.

Agricultural products

This agreement will ensure that the entire range of Geographical Indications is protected. The agreement between the EU and Switzerland on trade in agricultural products, in force since 1 June 2002, already covers the protection of wines and spirit drinks​,” according to an EU statement.

The agreement reinforces the European Union's quality policy and reflects the converging views of the European Union, Switzerland and Liechtenstein​,” it continued.

The agreement is expected to boost bilateral trade between the three territories.

Switzerland currently occupies the third place, after the US and Russia, in terms of value of EU exports of agricultural products and processed agricultural products. Total EU exports to Switzerland are valued at € 5.7bn a year.

The agreement will now be sent to the European Parliament for approval. It will be implemented on the first day of the second month following the notification of the approval.

The EU believes Protected Designation of Origin and Protected Geographical Indication on food and beverage labels provide consumers with clear and concise information on their origin. It is also said to benefits the rural economy, since it boosts farmers' income and maintains the population in less favoured or remote areas.

A Protected Designation of Origin covers the term used to describe foodstuffs which are produced, processed and prepared in a given geographical area using recognised know-how. For example: Mozzarella di Bufala Campana.

Processing

A Protected Geographical Indication indicates a link with the area in at least one of the stages of production, processing or preparation such as the nougat product Turrón de Alicante.

Meanwhile, earlier this year the EU agreed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with South Korea opening up improved trading conditions for European food and drink businesses.

Agricultural exporters will also save an estimated €380m each year due to eliminated tariffs.

EU trade commissioner, Karel De Gucht described the agreement as the most ambitious trade agreement to date and the first with an Asian country.

Related topics: Market Trends, Food labelling

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