From Michigan apples to California potatoes, from American wild prawns to Ohio wine, even Hawaiian coffee, the USA also have their geographic indication (GI) products, and measures could be taken to give them more value on the market. The recommendation comes from two researchers at the University of Berkeley who have compiled a volume of potential American geographic indication products, food items which will be compatible with Europe’s DOP and IGP system, in which Italy leads for the number of product registrations. The research commissioned by the Organization for an International Geographic Indications Network (oriGIn) aims to be “an invitation for dialogue on American GI products”. The problem is recognising the specific product qualities inherent to their geographic origins, one of the most controversial issues in the negotiations for a free-trade agreement between the US and EU. Different from Europe, where GIs are protected through a typology system, a normalised system based on product brands prevails. This is a rather costly approach for GI producers, foreign and domestic alike, due to the fact that it offers little protection in light of the high cost of registrationing.
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