Oenological practices and geographical indications protection in main international EU agreements
1. Introduction; 2. Oenological practices; 2.1 Free movement of wine inside the EU; 2.2 Non-tariff barriers in the trade with third countries; 2.2.1 WTO Agreements to overtake non-tariff barriers: SPS and TBT; 2.2.2 EU Agreements; 3. Protected designations of origin (PDOs) and protected geographical indications (PGIs); 3.1 Protection inside the EU; 3.2 Protection in third countries; 3.2.1 WTO Agreement: TRIPS; 3.3.2 EU Agreements; 3.3.3 EU adhesion to WIPO Agreement (the Lisbon System and the Geneva Act); 4. Final considerations.
Abstract. National rules on oenological practices respond to the need to protect human health and economic interests of consumers and producers. In international trade, however, such rules can turn into non-tariff barriers. The protection of DOs and GIs allows the safeguarding of an important economic and intangible heritage, at least from a European point of view. At an international level, however, this necessity clashes with antithetical economic interests, mainly attributable to the fact that in many non-European territories, various important European DOs and GIs have become common names that indicate certain types of foodstuffs or wines. In the WTO context, the mitigation of non-tariff barriers is entrusted to the SPS and TBT Agreements, while the protection of geographical indications to the TRIPS Agreement. However, their effectiveness has proven weak, especially TRIPS. Consequently, the European Union has concluded a series of international agreements with many third countries (both producers and consumers of wine) aimed at favouring trade in wine. In this way, on the one hand, a set of globally shared rules on oenological practices has been identified (thanks also to OIV action), and, on the other hand, numerous European DOs and GIs have obtained international recognition, thus allowing their concrete protection. EU international agreements have also contributed to increased awareness and consensus in the world on quality schemes related to the PDO and PGI systems. Unfortunately, in several cases, not all of the currently existing European geographical indications are recognised (only some of them), and this situation creates disparities.