David Martin MEP has welcomed the launch this week of a consultation by the European Commission on the possible extension of geographical indication (GI) protection to non-agricultural products.
GIs - or Geographical Indications is a legal protection for products based on where they originate or when they are made according to strict traditional methods. So for example Scotch whisky can only be called Scotch if it is produced in Scotland where similarly there are protections for Stornoway Black Pudding and Arbroath Smokies. Non-agricultural products however like marble, glass, and in Scotland’s case, tartan, do not presently have this protection at EU level.
Mr Martin, a member of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee commented:
“The European system for GIs on agricultural products has brought tangible benefits for Scottish producers and a quality guarantee for consumers.
“These are the kind of trade policy measures where the strength of the EU can give robust protection for authentic and traditional Scottish products abroad, boost production and protect Scottish jobs.
“I welcome this consultation from the Commission to look into extending GI protection beyond food and drink."
In welcoming the consultation Mr Martin stressed the importance of the Commission consulting widely on the issue, with necessary attention paid to avoiding overly-complicated or costly regimes that could, in the end be an unfair or unnecessary barrier to trade. He also pointed out the importance of not falling foul of World Trading Organisation (WTO) rules on unfair trading practices.