Answer – SADC Agreement and protection of the PDO products feta cheese and Kalamata olives – P-004696/2016

The EU-SADC (Southern African Development Community) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), was signed at Kasane in Botswana, on 10 June 2016, with six of the members of SADC, namely Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland.

Under Protocol 3 (Geographical indications and trade in wines and spirits) to the EU-SADC EPA, South Africa will protect 251 EU geographical indications (GIs). These include 29 GIs for products coming from Greece, including ‘Φέτα/Feta’ and ‘Ελιά Καλαμάτας/Elia Kalamatas’.

Until now, only EU GI names for certain wines and spirits have been protected following the Agreements on Trade in Wines and on Trade in Spirits signed with South Africa in 2002. Hence, when the EU-SADC EPA enters into force, the listed GIs for EU agriculture products and foodstuffs will move from current non-protected status to protected status. In no case is protection for a GI removed or reduced. Rather the entry into force of the EU-SADC EPA will increase the protection of the listed 251 EU GIs.

Protocol 3 only applies between the EU and South Africa, while other parties to the EU SADC EPA (Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia or Swaziland) may join at a later date.

The EU-SADC EPA foresees rules and procedures to make changes to the lists of protected GI names, and the Commission is committed to ensuring that the GI protocol is reviewed, together with the whole agreement, no later than five years after its entry into force.