From obscure speciality to breaking news: GIs under the spotlight

By Ortrun Günzel
Geographical indications have hit the headlines in recent months, with mainstream debate grappling the extent of their protection – but why have they become such a hot political issue?


“Brexit indigestion: row brewing over call for UK laws to protect likes of cognac and feta”, “Brexit talks: European meats and alcohol stall negotiations”, “Senate is freaking out about Mexico buying cheese from Europe” – these are only three of the many headlines covering recent disputes over geographical indications (GIs). Political and media figures have been hotly debating the benefits and pitfalls of GI protection, as well as the importance of such rights during trade negotiations – but why have GIs suddenly become such a divisive issue?

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