“European success on global markets might seem a paradox, in light of the higher production costs that EU producers face, due to stringent environmental, animal welfare, social, health and labour standards. However, we are turning this into a value that consumers the world over appreciate. It is the rich diversity of EU products, coupled with the increased market orientation of EU agriculture that will help the EU to find further opportunities on global markets.
Part of this quality approach is EU geographical indications or GIs. GIs are a key driver in supporting jobs in rural areas where they come from, for farmers and SMEs, in the food and tourism industries. GIs are about rural intellectual property, GIs are about rewarding quality in rural areas. GIs represent 30% of EU agrifood exports to the U.S., worth €3.4 billion.
As rural people, let’s not leave the intellectual property and sophisticated design techniques to the folks in Silicon Valley or the fashion houses of Paris – this is about rural folk being sophisticated too! American producers can and already do benefit from such a system, from Napa Valley to the potato growers of Idaho.
Of course, it helps that American and European consumers love the high quality GI products, if the numbers enjoying Scotch whiskey, Italian wine or Spanish olive oil are anything to go by. “