The potential benefits for Australian agriculture of a domestic food GI regime


Australia has introduced a statutory GI regime for wines and spirits as required by the Agreement between Australia and the European Community on Trade in Wine 2008. However, Australia has not introduced a GI regime for other foods or beverages. Australia has tended to see higher international standards of GI protection as providing disproportionate benefits to European producers (van Caenegem, 2004). This project addresses two questions. 1. Should Australia as an exporter of agricultural products reevaluate its international position on GIs? 2. Should Australia assess the costs and benefits of food GIs from the perspective of their effects on regional development? The two issues may be linked: a GI regime that contributes to regional development may spill over into trade gains through consumer recognition in export markets. As a result of a WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) ruling in 2005, the EU has simplified its GI regulation to make it easier for parties from outside the EU to obtain GI registration. One longer term effect of this decision is that as countries move to GIs they will also have to make it easier for foreigners to obtain GI registration. Australia’s agricultural export markets may experience the registration of foreign GIs. Opportunities may also develop for protection of possible Australian food GI’s in Europe and elsewhere. The project aims to assess the advantages and disadvantages of introducing a food GI regime in Australia, what its optimal form might be, and its potential to advance regional development and Australia’s international trade interests.


National Rural Issues

Research Organisation

Bond University

Objective Summary

Even though GI’s are treated as intellectual property (IP) in TRIPS, this project identifies GI regulation primarily as a rural and regional development policy tool. GI regimes are investigated for the collective benefits they may generate, rather than as a tool of private appropriation. The main objectives of this project are: first, to investigate the scholarship and empirical work related to GI regimes published locally and internationally; secondly to assess whether the proliferation of registered and protected GIs in Australia’s export markets is likely to continue; and thirdly, to undertake case studies in a number of selected Australian regions to test assumptions about (rural, remote and) regional development and potential regulatory options, and obtain feedback from all parties that might be affected by the introduction of a GI regime for food. The anticipated outcome of the research consists of identification of the various regulatory options; analysis of the benefits and costs of each; the preferred option for Australia if any; an assessment of regional and international trade implications of the various options; and formulation and dissemination of relevant recommendations. The project’s objective is to support the conclusions with a broad research base in terms of published literature, a wide range of views and observations from potential stakeholders, and empirical data from representative case studies.

Project Code


Project Stage


Project Start Date

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Project Completion Date

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Journal Articles From Project

Not Available

National Priority

Safeguarding Australia

National Priority

Advanced Technology

National Priority

NRI-National Rural Issues


Related publications


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