The Embassy of Greece participated in Geographical Indications Day organised by the Embassy of Italy and the Delegation of the European Union in Canberra, on Saturday, November 24th 2018.
The event was organised in the context of the second round of negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between EU and Australia, finishing the day before, in which Geographical Indications (GIs) were a key area of discussion.
During Geographical Indications Day officials attended a very lively discussion by a panel of top experts in the field, which included EU and Australia’s GIs negotiators, and found out more about the EU system of GIs protection and the potential benefits for Australia.
The discussion was followed by a degustation of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) products from different EU countries, as well as local Australian high-quality food products.
Greece participated with the most iconic and world famous GI products of the country, including PDO Feta cheese, PDO Manouri cheese, PDO Kolymvari Chanion olive oil, PDO Masticha Chiou mastic gum, and PGI Kritiko Paximadi wheat rusks.
Her Excellency the Ambassador of Greece in Australia, Mrs Katerina Xagorari, and the Trade Commissioner of Greece, Mrs Katia Gkikiza, were present at the event, and they had the great honour to entrust the presentation of their products to the acclaimed Alpha Restaurant Sydney Executive Chef, Peter Conistis, who explained what makes the products unique and proposed imaginative new ways to enjoy them.
Both EU and Australia pay great importance to the quality of agricultural production and food and they both have efficient monitoring procedures in place to ensure quality and compliance with standards.
In the EU, Protected Geographical Indications set standards for the raw materials used, and for the processing of food products according to long community traditions. PGIs are beneficial for consumers as they guarantee high-quality end products and they are beneficial for local communities as they enhance consumer awareness on the high quality of the products, making thus possible the continuation of production.
“We believe that a better understanding of the European values behind the production of food will allow better coordination and mutual acceptance of monitoring and standards between Australia and EU. In this respect, negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement offer an exceptional opportunity, and today’s event allowed both sides to talk about their production values and experience the high-quality end products,” says Trade Commissioner Katia Gkikiza.
“Greece has several centuries long agricultural traditions and internationally famous food products. As a result, there is a strong presence of Greek products in the EU lists of PGI products. Furthermore, half the Greek exports to Australia consist of food products. Therefore it is particularly important for Greece that the status of Greek PGIs is recognised under the FTA,” added Mrs. Gkikiza.
“But we believe that the recognition of PGIs in the future Free Trade Agreement will be very beneficial for Australia as well. It will guarantee the quality of products available to the Australian consumers; it will protect the consumers against products that exploit famous brands in order to mislead about their actual qualities, and it will offer the opportunity to Australian producers to brand and promote their own unique traditional products in a similar way,” concluded the Trade Commissioner.
*Images by Nick Bourdo Photography (Copyright)