Within the framework of the collaboration between the French National Institute of Origin and Quality (INAO) and the American Origin Products association (AOPA), the French Ministry of Agriculture (MAAF) and the INAO welcomed on April 29, 2015 the Idaho Potatoes Commission -member of the AOPA – in the presence of OriGIn France and the French National Union of Potato Producers (UNPT).

This meeting, which was part of a three-day visit in France, permitted American producers to exchange with the MAAF, INAO and the French Minister of Agriculture’s cabinet on the topic of Geographic Indications.

On this occasion, the Vice President of the Idaho Potato Commission, Pat Kole, spoke of his interest in protecting the origin of agricultural products. He highlighted in particular the capacity of quality signs to guarantee benefits to the producers by adding value to the products. Furthermore, he emphasized that the high-level of protection guaranteed by GIs comes at a low financial cost of this system to the producers.

Délégation de producteurs de pommes de terre de l'Idaho (USA) souhaitant développer un label ou un signe de qualité sur le modèle de ce que fait l'INAO en France.

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This meeting comes at a time when discussions are being held between the US and the EU on the question of recognition and protection of Geographic Indications on both continents within the context of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

The visit concluded on May 2, 2015 in Cambremer, France with the signature of a protocol of cooperation between the INAO, AOPA, OriGIn France and the American Origin Products Research Foundation (AOPRF).
This agreement will not not only serve to better connect operators in two countries who are engaged in the production of products linked to origin, but also to connect government representatives to help implement cooperation initiatives.

This protocol will notably allow for an established system of information sharing between these different organizations with the goal of developing and strengthening their mutual knowledge about geographic indications in France and the United States. Additionally, it supports initiatives that could improve the identification and development of products that are protected on the basis of their origin.

With this step, the MAAF, INAO and AOPA intend to assist the American producers represented by the Idaho Potatoes Commission in registering the Idaho Potato as a Geographic Indication with the European Union.

With the signature of this protocol of cooperation, the French Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forestry hopes to strengthen the cooperation with the representatives of the AOPA for the protection of geographic indications, which began in 2013. This step will encourage the sharing of experiences and knowledge concerning the protection and the implementation of Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographic Indications (PGI) of France’s agricultural products.