A disputes settlement panel has been formed at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to arbitrate over claims from the USA and Australia that European Union (EU) regulations on the protection of trademarks and geographical indications for foodstuffs break world trade rules.

Washington alleges that the EU rules are illegal by not allowing the registration of non-EU geographical indications unless the designation was from a country that offered geographical indication protection equivalent to that in the European Union.

Australia says the EU regime breaks WTO rules banning discriminatory treatment of products, does not properly protect trademarks, and is too “complex and prescriptive”.