Consultation is now open on what food, wine and spirit names could be protected as part of a free trade agreement with the European Union.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is seeking submissions on the European Union’s proposed list of product names it wants protected as geographical indications in New Zealand for exclusive use by European producers.

Geographical indications or GIs are names that identify a product originating from a territory or region where a quality, reputation or other characteristic is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.

Nominations are also open for New Zealand product names that may be put forward to the EU for consideration as geographical indications.

New Zealand recognises the importance of GI protection to the EU. Any protection of EU names in New Zealand will be subject to negotiation and we will require a satisfactory overall outcome of the Agreement for New Zealand.

By notifying the EU list, New Zealand is showing good will in the negotiation. We are looking forward to reciprocity by the EU on issues of interest to New Zealand.

Consultation will run through until 19 March 2019 to ensure anyone who wants to make a submission or a nomination has time to do so.

Submissions on the EU’s list will help ensure that the Government is aware of the full range of New Zealand’s interests in these areas.

The consultation timing will help maintain critical momentum in negotiations on this and other aspects of an EU-NZ free trade agreement in early 2019.

The EU is also proposing that New Zealand should adopt an enhanced regulatory framework that gives more protection to GIs, similar to the level and scope of protection available in Europe but different to what is currently offered in New Zealand. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will consult on this separately next year.

More information, nomination criteria and the European Union’s list of geographical indications are available at https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/eu-fta-consultation