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Geographical indications: Eastern Partnership Countries case
Natalia Mogol  1@  
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In the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, the subject of geographical indications is particularly important. Although the approach to the subject of GIs in the EaP countries is uneven and differs from country to country, the attention that each of these states pays at the national level to the field of geographical indications cannot be neglected. In countries such as Georgia, Armenia and Moldova, the development of the GI system is one of the national strategic objectives. This interest is largely due to those economic benefits offered by the implementation of the geographical indications system, especially in countries where the share of the agri-food sector in GDP is significant.

During 2009-2020 several bilateral agreements between European Union and states from the EaP were signed. One of the main feature of this documents consists in the incorporation of the mutual recognition of geographical indications provisions in the Agreements.

At the time of signing, the balance of mutual protection of GIs in bilateral agreements signed by the Eastern Partnership States with the EU was clearly in favor of EU Member States, and it will probably remain like this in the future. Noticing such an imbalance between the number of GIs in the EU's Eastern Partnership States protected and the EU GIs protected in the Eastern Partnership States involuntarily, the question arises who benefits from this exchange of lists?

The bilateral agreements allows producers from Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Armenia to protect, on the territory of the European Union, geographical indications registered at national level without incurring any costs on their part. On the other hand, the same principle applies to European GIs. The savings made by the EU states for the protection of GIs in the Eastern Partnership states are not to be neglected (e.g. to register those over 3700 EU GIs in the Republic of Moldova only, would require over 900000 Euros official fees, not to mention related fees for legal assistance).

For sure, from the point of view of GI protection EU bilateral agreementss are very advantageous for EU.

On the other hand, AAs as a whole offers a number of advantages to EaP countries, although some of them are of an unquantifiable character and some will appear only in the longer term.

Despite the fact that challenges regarding the implementation of the association agreement in the part concerning geographical indications in the EaP countries are quite similar, there are no complex studies regarding the implementation of the geographical indications systems in the Eastern Partnership Countries. The main purpose of this paper is to fulfill the existing gap and to analyze the current situation in the field of GI highlighting best practices but also the vulnerabilities of the GI system in the EaP countries.

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