KINGSTON: Jamaica’s Information Minister, Daryl Vaz, announced that the government was moving to protect Jamaican agricultural products by registering for Geographical Indications (GI).
Vaz said the report, presented by the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, is the first step to give Jamaican goods protection against counterfeits and to stop similar products from other locations benefitting from the Jamaican name.
The move would eventually lead to Jamaican certification of products such as Jamaica rum, Blue Mountain Coffee and Jamaica Jerk being recognized internationally while protecting against infringement of and fraud against genuine Jamaican goods traded internationally.
The products that are candidates for the Jamaican GI mark are identified with Jamaica and are internationally recognized for their tradition of high standards of quality. Registering these Jamaican product names not only guarantees their quality but it also preserves the names for the exclusive use by Jamaica. For example, Cheddar cheese, which originated in the UK, was not protected and has lost its exclusivity due to widespread use, but Roquefort cheese, produced in France, remains the sole product of France.
Examples of products in the USA that enjoy protection from their country’s GI registration are Florida oranges and Idaho potatoes. Colombian coffee has a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), which is similar to a GI. The use of GIs and other distinguishing labels for agricultural products arose from a longstanding French tradition of designating their wine producing regions.