Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Regional Science

Quality, Origin and Globalization: Overall Justifications and National Frameworks: The Geographical Indication case./Qualite, Origine et Globalisation: Justifications Generales et Contextes Nationaux, le Cas Des Indications Geographiques

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Regional Science

Quality, Origin and Globalization: Overall Justifications and National Frameworks: The Geographical Indication case./Qualite, Origine et Globalisation: Justifications Generales et Contextes Nationaux, le Cas Des Indications Geographiques

Article excerpt

Abstract

This article is based on research undertaken in the context of the European project Dolphins (Development of Origin Labelled Products: Humanity, Innovation and Sustainability). This project (2000-2004) involved a European collaborative action, bringing together 15 research teams from 9 European countries (France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Finland). Its objectives were to: (i) better understand the characteristics and the evolution of Geographical Indications (GIs) in agri-food systems; (ii) provide tools to assess public policy concerning the markets for, and the development of, these products; and (iii) provide recommendations to the European Community in the context of WTO negotiations. The project work was structured around 7 themes: assessment of technical and regulatory aspects, the economic structure of the production chains, the impact on rural development, the relationships with consumers and citizens, a synthesis of the characteristics of Gis, the production systems of Gis, their corresponding markets and the public implications of these GI production systems, assessment of public policy, and a general synthesis and the formulation of recommendations. The work involved the identification of the production systems involved, an analysis of the literature on the question of products with their geographic origins identified and more generally on production chains of 'quality' products, and a comparative analysis of national rules and strategies (the bibliographic base is available on the web site: www.origin-food.org). The results have been published in six interim reports and a synthesis. This article is based upon the results of this project.

Products the names of which make reference to their geographic origin are, first of all, recognized by the actors in the market place and by consumers, at least the connoisseurs. Historically, some of these products achieved broad recognition, which has raised for a long time (the 19920s onwards) the issue of the protection of Geographic Indications at the national and international levels. At the same time, the issue of the organization of producers and the protection of their collective reputation was also posed. France and other South European countries developed legislation very early on (the 1940s).

The Common Market led the European Union to develop common legislation (regulation 2081/92). This coincided with the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of 1992 and the development of local initiatives in relation to this regulation; it came to be recognized as one of the objectives of rural development. This objective has been reiterated and reinforced via various programs (measures of accompaniment in 1994, agenda 2000, and the 2003 reform). If the development of these products has become a public objective, it is important to ask the question concerning what are the conditions for success for the development of their markets and the innovation processes based on constructing value for the specific resources involved.

In August 2002 in the EU, there were 597 labels registered as AOP (Appelation d'Origine Protegee--Protected Label of Origin) and IGP (Indication d'Origine Protegee--Protected Geographic Indication); there were 696 in 2005 (405 AOP and 291 IGP) (in addition to the roughly 2,500 labels related to wine production). Italy and France are the countries with the greatest number, followed by Portugal and Spain. It should be noted that Greece, Germany and the United Kingdom, countries where this tradition had not been important, have been submitting more and more requests for approval of such labels.

Placing the geographic origin on the name of products is first of all a commercial practice; in the first stages of marketing, the categorization of products by geographic origin is the approach most frequently met, in the absence of other certified characteristics. …

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