This week's launch of public consultations on the use of Geographic Indications as part of the Australia-European Union Free Trade Agreement have been welcomed by Meat & Livestock Australia.
A Geographical Indication identifies the product originating in a specific region or locality.
The chair of the Australia-EU Red Meat Market Access Taskforce Andrew McDonald said the announcement by the Australian Government regarding consultations on GIs is a positive sign negotiations were progressing in a constructive manner.
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"The Taskforce is an advocate of a comprehensive A-EU FTA and therefore endorses and welcomes efforts to progress consultations," Mr McDonald said.
"Political leaders have recognised that discussions on agriculture and geographical indications will be among the most difficult aspects of the negotiations.
"The EU has made it very clear that the protection of certain GIs is of utmost importance to their ambitions. Our government and industry are just as ambitious about getting the best possible outcome.
Australian beef, sheepmeat and goatmeat are currently constrained by EU tariff quotas. In terms of country specific access, Australian exporters only have a 7150 tonne high quality beef quota and a 19186 tonne combined sheepmeat/goatmeat quota
"We recognise there are many difficult discussions ahead," Mr McDonald said.
"The launch of the GI consultation process paves the way for these discussions, hopefully in the not too distant future. The FTA is a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve our access to the European market that will provide benefits to European consumers and the Australian red meat supply chain alike.