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Food debate in agriculture and international trade agreements

Research examining how Australian farmers can capitalise on opportunities to supply overseas markets will take centre stage at the Food Geographical Indications (GIs), Agriculture and Free Trade Agreements forum at Bond University, Friday 16 June 2017.

In light of free trade agreements (FTA) negotiations between Australia and the European Union, the question of how to assess the potential of GIs to advance agriculture and international trade will be explored by keynote speaker the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon. Steven Ciobo MP, in addition to a panel discussion with industry and academic experts.

Findings from the study ‘Local to Global: Provenance Branding and Farmer Co-operation for High Value Export Markets’, funded by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC), will be a key focus of the discussion.

According to principal author of the report, William van Caenegem, consumers are increasingly seeking quality foods with a local story and a familiar brand which they trust, but brand values are threatened by free riders and those making false claims about provenance, ingredients and practices.

“To adequately protect their investment, it is essential that Australian producers adopt a legal strategy with proactive registration of marks and brands, effective policing and a visible effort at enforcement,” said Mr van Caenegem.

At the forum RIRDC Program Manager, Jennifer Medway, will participate in a panel session about domestic trade in which the findings of the research will be discussed.

“The research findings offer a valuable resource for farmers and agricultural groups to better understand the legal systems available to protect their provenance brands in key Asian markets,” said Ms Medway.

“Australian farmers can benefit from collaborating to produce high value goods and to protect their provenance brands. This research will help inform discussion between industry and government decision makers in relation to Australia’s approach to domestic GI protection.”

The research publication ‘Local to Global: Provenance Branding and Farmer Co-operation for High Value Export Markets’ will be presented to the forum at the conclusion of the panel discussion.

Source: RIRDC

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