130. On this subject matter, we have requested the floor to first thank the European Union for its very intensive and friendly coordination with the Sri Lankan authorities, both in Brussels and with our capital. We submitted our application to the EU authorities for seeking protection within the European Union for this very valuable geographical indication, as Sri Lanka had been trying to promote Ceylon Cinnamon to distinguish it from other varieties of cinnamon, or other similar varieties of spices.
131. I think the exercise began some years ago, by particularly creating a specific classification for Ceylon cinnamon which actually differentiated it from other spices like cassia and the tamala leaves, because they belong to a similar botanical family. We managed to make this differentiation even in the World Custom Organization. And then, subsequently, we also protected certain processes that are quite unique in making this particular spice variety. So it is not only the agricultural commodity product itself but all the production process, quite unique compared to the other production processes that are being used in the production of cassia.
132. We know that this product fetches normally a high value in the international market compared to other competitive products of cassia. With this geographical indication, particularly since this is the first country which has recognized and granted the adequate protection for us in the EU market, I would say that this is the way for our producers to obtain much higher prices in the world market. This is a challenging job. I know that we also plan to obtain similar protection in other markets, particularly in South America and in the United States which are the main market.
133. This is a valuable opportunity for Sri Lanka, despite the many challenges we faced while obtaining this protection in the EU market. There was an objection, relating to the use of Ceylon cinnamon in other commodities, such as in a tea variety. This is because the protection that we have got is actually not the high level of protection, which is normally accorded to the wines and spirits. Now, if you have the high-level protection, then such an attempt can also be restricted by the third- party user. I mean, we can restrict it and limit the use by third parties. So, we are very much in favour of having Members' direction and attention towards according the high level of protection for such cinnamon, and other products coming from developing country Members. They made lots of investment in creating an enabling environment for such products, and similarly, we are also now looking forward to launch other application at the EU in seeking a similar protection for Ceylon tea, which is, again, a very well-known GI round the world.