UK and EU Geographic Indicator brands want certainty when it comes to Brexit

GI brands
(Stephen Plaster /

A Brand Dialogue workshop at the RAC Club in Pall Mall yesterday looked at the impact Brexit will have on Geographic Indicator (GI) status products. Anna Tobin reports

UK products that are known for their geographical providence, such as Scotch Whisky and Harris Tweed, have, until now, had their Geographic Indicator (GI) status guaranteed and protected by the EU. Following a no-deal Brexit, these products will no longer be classified within the EU GI system.

If a Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU is agreed it is likely that a reciprocal arrangement will be agreed between the UK and the EU whereby they recognise each other’s GI products. With no deal now looking increasingly likely, there is a lot of uncertainty, however, about how GI brands will operate going forward.

“Brexit is the biggest draw on our resources at the moment and it has been for the last couple of years,” Lindesay Low, deputy director of legal affairs at the Scotch Whisky Association, told attendees at the event, pointing out that it wasn’t just GI that was a concern. “There are issues relating to the movement of goods, and whether duty will need to be paid when goods cross member states or whether it can just be paid at the final destination, for example. Scotch whisky was sold around the world before we joined the EU and it will remain so after, but the one thing that all our members want is some certainty.”

Showing that European brands were also concerned about their status in the UK following Brexit, Stefano Fanti, director of Italy’s Parma Ham Consortium, said: “Uncertainty is, of course, what everyone is fearing. We hope that there will be an agreement, but we have registered our name and brand as a collective certification mark here in the UK to protect our brands too.”

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