Scotch whisky applies for GI in New Zealand
The Scotch whisky industry has become one of the first to apply to be listed on New Zealand’s register of geographical indications (GIs).
According to trade body the Scotch Whisky Association, if its application on the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office is accepted, Scotch whisky will have protection as a registered GI in New Zealand.
The scheme is designed to give greater legal protection to domestic and international wines and spirits and protect consumers against fakes.
Currently in New Zealand, if someone is selling fake Scotch there is the option of taking legal proceedings for breach of the Fair Trading Act.
Looking ahead, the SWA would welcome an early UK-New Zealand free trade agreement following Brexit.
Benefits of the agreement include: guaranteed and improved protection of GIs; strengthened whisky definition; removal of import duty equivalent charges; industry access to New Zealand’s health promotion levy to help fund responsible drinking campaigns and end of the prohibition of the sale of spirits in the country’s supermarkets.
“As Scotch whisky continues to grow in popularity, attempts are often made to try to take unfair advantage of its success, for example by trying to make and sell fakes,” said Lindesay Low, SWA senior legal counsel.
“Recognition as a GI helps protect against such illegal activities. It’s important that consumers have confidence in the provenance of what they are buying, which this recognition of Scotch as a ‘geographical indication’ will help to achieve.
“We were quick off the mark to file our application to register Scotch whisky as a GI in New Zealand as it offers such great protection to our product. We await the decision of New Zealand authorities on our early application.
“We hope a free trade agreement between New Zealand and the UK will be signed following Brexit to further improve the status of Scotch whisky in the market.”
British high commissioner Jonathan Sinclair added: “The export of Scotch whisky to New Zealand is important and we will continue to work with the industry to ensure that it continues to thrive and prosper in New Zealand.”
According to the SWA, exports of Scotch whisky to New Zealand were up almost 18% last year to just under £6.3 million.