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Changing Institutions to Protect Regional Heritage: A Case for Geographical Indications in the Indian Agrifood Sector

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Geographical Indications have evolved in recent years to protect indigenous knowledge in the agrifood sector without hampering the ethos of free trade. Supporters regard them as useful tools for protecting national property rights and offering new export opportunities, while opponents consider them as barriers to trade. This article provides theoretical justifications for them, based on insights from the New Institutional Economics, and cites Darjeeling tea and Basmati rice as Indian examples highlighting some of their dynamic institutional aspects. The new legal framework for GIs is mainly based on the international level.

Keywords: Basmati rice; Darjeeling tea; Geographical indications; India; institutions

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Respectively, Post-doctoral Research Fellow ( ) and Professor, Institute for Environmental Economics and World Trade, University of Hannover, Königsworther Platz 1, 30167 Hannover, Germany., Email:

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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