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World Trade Organisation confirms EU's "geographical indications" illegal.

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Media release

Wednesday, 20 April 2005 - MVT31/2005

WTO Confirms EU's "Geographical Indications" Illegal

Trade Minister Mark Vaile has welcomed the WTO's adoption today of the panel report in Australia's challenge to the EU's "geographical indications" (GIs) regime.

"WTO members have now confirmed collectively that the EU's regime for protecting geographical indications is inconsistent with the EU's WTO obligations," Mr Vaile said.

"Although the dispute concerns the EU's existing obligations, it endorses Australia's view that the EU's current demands on GIs are unnecessary and unworkable, particularly given the EU's regime is WTO inconsistent.

"The EU has yet to convince us that there is any need to change existing multilateral rules governing geographical indications," Mr Vaile said.

"Yet the EU continues to seek significant changes to existing rules on GIs in the WTO as payment for liberalisation of its agriculture sector.

"This confirms our view that the EU's demands on GIs in the WTO are essentially intended to replace tariff and non-tariff barriers to agricultural imports with new restrictions. The EU is really only interested in protecting its agricultural interests from outside competition," Mr Vaile said.

The Panel's report in the parallel challenge by the United States to the EU's GI regime was adopted at the same time.

The Panel reports for both disputes can be found at the WTO website,

Frequently asked questions on GIs are

available on the DFAT website.

Media Contact: DFAT Media Liaison 02 6261 1555