22-26 September 2003, Brussels, Paris, Bayonne and Cognac, Study Tour on the Protection of Geographical Indications, 22 - 26 September 2003PARTICIPANTS COMMEND STUDY VISIT TO EUROPE ON GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS
As part of ECAPII national activities for the Philippines, Mrs Leny B. Raz, Director, Bureau of Trademarks, Intellectual Property Office and Mr Noel Padre from the Ministry of Agriculture visited Europe to explore the theme of Geographical Indications (GIs) during 22-26 September 2003.
The first stop of the study visit took the two participants to Brussels where they met with senior European officers dealing with Geographical Indications issues in the EC Directorate General for Trade, and for Agriculture. Then they proceeded to France, where they met and held exchanges with officers from the French Ministry of Agriculture, and Institut National des Appellations d'Origine in Paris. And for real-life examples of GIs success stories, the participants visited the facilities of Consortium du Jambon de Bayonne, and the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac. (BNIC)
Both participants commended the content of the visit, and urged ECAP to expand the benefit of disseminating such knowledge ASEAN-wide.
Given the fact that GIs is a new issue for Asia, and Europe having an established system of GIs protection, Mrs Leny B. Raz intends to share what she has learnt during the study visit with her staff and colleagues back in the Philippines. The trip, she adds, also enabled her to make useful contacts for her future work. "Getting information straight from those who are involved in the organizations relating to GIs is a good starting point. Future correspondence can then be further explored on how they get started and how they remain strong definitely provide input to the producers and beneficiaries of our own GIs," she said.
Likewise, Noel Padre from the Ministry of Agriculture said he intends to pursue contacts with both the officers and industry people he met during the study visit as such continued dialogue will contribute to his field of works. For Mr Padre whose unit at the Ministry of Agriculture is actively involved in the Agreement on Agriculture negotiations at the WTO wherein GIs is an issue, the study visit helped clarify a number of key points surrounding GIs. "Whereas before the visit, my view of GI was that it is being strongly pushed by the EU but opposed by the US, now I know why EU has taken such position," he said.
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