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UK to launch own GI scheme under ‘no deal’ Brexit plans

The UK government has outlined plans for a new geographical indication (GI) scheme independent of the EU in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario.

Products such as Scotch whisky will be protected under a new UK GI scheme if a Brexit withdrawal deal is not reached

If the UK exits the EU without a deal next March, the government said it would set up its own GI legislation to protect UK-made products that are currently covered by the EU’s regime.

In a guidance note published earlier this week, the government said the new GI scheme would “broadly mirror” the EU’s and would be compliant with World Trade Organization regulations.

Under the contingency plan, all 86 GI-protected products from the UK would be “given new UK GI status automatically”.

While concern has been expressed over the protection of ‘all-island’ GIs for Irish products, the government stressed that Irish whiskey, Irish cream and Poitín would “continue to be fully protected in the EU as well as the UK”.

However, GI products from the EU would not be automatically covered by the scheme and EU producers “would be able to apply for UK GI status”.

The government said it anticipates that “all current UK GIs will continue to be protected by the EU’s GI schemes”, but if this turns out not to be the case, producers would need to apply to the European Commission for EU GI status.

A public consultation will explore plans for a new UK GI logo, which the government said it expects to introduce regardless of whether it secures a withdrawal agreement.

“Producers of GI products wishing to use this logo will need to make preparations to comply with the new rules around use of this logo within the deadline,” it said.

The government also believes that “irrespective of the outcome of EU negotiations”, UK GIs will be “named in and protected by EU free trade agreements”.

There are currently 86 GI-protected UK product names, including five wines and five spirits. Total UK GI products make up a quarter of the value of food and drink exports from the nation, according to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.

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