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Trade Bill - Committee (2nd Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:00 pm on 23rd January 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Fairhead Baroness Fairhead The Minister of State, Department for International Trade 10:00 pm, 23rd January 2019

I was just coming on to that point: the future protection of UK GIs in the EU and then the reciprocal. We have heard loud and clear the desire of UK GI producers, and I can assure noble Lords that we are seeking to make this happen. At the time of this amendment being tabled, I believe there was no public statement from the EU on the future of existing GIs after exit. Since then, the European Commission has publicly stated, in November 2018, that:

“EU-approved geographical indications bearing names of UK origin … remain unaffected within the EU and therefore continue to be protected in the EU”.

This is consistent with what has always been the UK’s understanding. We expected that existing UK GIs would enjoy continued protection even after exit, because the current legislation means that the protection is indefinite unless specific grounds for cancellation are met. These grounds do not include removal from the EU. UK GIs will therefore continue to have the same level of protection as other third-country GIs protected in the EU. They are protected by virtue of being on the register, having earned that right by successfully passing the EU scrutiny processes. That protection will remain unless the relevant entries can justifiably be removed.