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Abstract

Geographical Indications (GIs) are intellectual property rights in placenames that evoke the typical qualities of agricultural products and foodstuffs that originate in particular districts. Presently, the EU is the dominant holder of protected GIs and the EU asserts that they are used extensively and effectively in EU countries as a rural and regional development tool. To date, Australia's response to GIs has largely been driven by perceptions of their impact upon trade gains and losses. Currently, Australia only has legal protection for wine-related GI's because of an agreement with the EU.

Given an increased focus on GIs internationally, particularly in China and India, we raise the question of whether Australia should more deeply consider a special regime for the legal protection of GIs in relation to agricultural products and foodstuffs more generally, something that has not been investigated to date because of Australia's negative attitude towards GI protection in international trade negotiations. This paper sets out the challenges and opportunities of considering GI development against the backdrop of Australia's regional, rural and remote diversity.