CCFN Calls Out Brazil on Inconsistencies Regarding Prior Users

September 12th, 2022

When the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply recently released a list of prior users able to use common food terms recognized as GIs under the Mercosur-European Union Free Trade Agreement, CCFN wasted no time raising serious concerns with the new list. The May 2022 list omits retailers and importers in an excessively narrow interpretation of prior users. This comes in contrast with the original list published in September of 2020.

CCFN immediately requested that the U.S. government engage in direct government-to-government discussions with Brazil to revise this restrictive list to include retailers, importers, shippers and other entities. CCFN believes this revised list, if not challenged, will have wider implications and restrict trade for common name users in the region.

CCFN explained to the U.S. government that the new list repeals the prior user list developed by the Brazilian Government in 2020. CCFN contributed to the inclusion of 39 companies as part of the 2020 final list of prior users including multiple retailers and importers. No explanation has been provided as to why the 2020 list was replaced. In addition, only Brazilian companies and a limited number of Uruguayan and Argentinean companies are on the new list – and all of them producers.

In its appeal to the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, CCFN highlighted this as a clear example of the EU promoting its broader GI monopolization policy. The list is explicitly tied to the Mercosur-EU FTA, an agreement which has not yet been signed, providing no legal basis for enforcement under the local legal framework of the countries affected.