In 1995 the author was advising South African government officials during their Free trade Area negotiations with the EU when the issue of the use of ‘Port’, ‘Sherry’ and ‘Grappa’ by some South African wine and spirits producers came into the forefront of the negotiating agenda. A South African negotiator asked the author why the Europeans were obsessed with such names, after all, he said, ‘whenever I go to Pizza Hut and I order pizza I always think of pizza as made in Italy’. I replied that this was exactly what Europeans were afraid of.
There is a deep ‘cultural’ and legal divide between the EU and the US on the issue of geographical indications, its cultural underpinnings and trade interests. This article examines how this debate is becoming more complex and deep rooted with developing country markets, some increasingly using Geographical Indications (GIs) to promote their own products, being the object of the contest. By not providing adequate technical assistance to support the growth of GIs in developing countries and Least developed countries he EU fails to live up to its commitment to preserve the ‘Living cultural and gastronomic heritage’ that is not limited to EU products and trade interests .The ultimate answer lies on our everyday ability as consumers to make our choice based on unequivocal information about the nature and the origin of the products we buy in groceries stores.Journal of World Trade