Geographical Indications: A Great Opportunity to Foster Trade and Development under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the TRIPS Agreement: The Case of Belizean Bananas
Geographical Indications (GIs) are a major intellectual asset as a tool for ensuring the benefits and distinctiveness of unique agricultural products while protecting consumer interests. Furthermore, GIs—as indicators of quality, reputation, and other characteristics linked to origin—serve as a legal and economic mechanism for development, market access, local distribution of added value, preservation of diversity and cultural heritage, and environmental sustainability. Recent inclusion of GIs regulations within important trade agreements signed by the European Union (South Korea, Central America and Canada), announce a very interesting negotiation under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP) with the United States. These new legal instruments may facilitate long expected improvement in fundamental industrial property rights for global trade and the revision of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS Agreement).This contribution provides a legal analysis on the feasibility of, and grounds for, an effective regulatory GI framework. Based on the complexities of existing models for the protection of agricultural products through traditional trademarks or a sui generis GI system, this dissertation provides a new concept of GIs protection including certification, registration, fair trade, and the interest of developing countries to overcome the current legal schemes.