It must be made absolutely clear that for commercial names, trademarks and brand names, the term ‘Macedonia’ as a geographical indication and product name of origin must be exclusively Greek, while Greece’s northern neighbours can use the new name agreed between the two sides, the head of the Union of Hellenic Chambers and the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Constantinos Michalos, said on Monday.
In an interview with the state broadcaster’s ERT1 channel, he made an overall positive assessment of the impact of the agreement signed by Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on the Greek economy, provided its terms were fully upheld and the new name was used erga omnes.
“Based on figures for 2016, we make exports worth 600 million euros and are the sixth trade partners of Skopje, with 787 million euros in total bilateral trade. Our country is one of the top five investors in FYROM, especially in oil products and fuels, banks and retail trade. A compromise solution that protects our interests will have economic and geopolitical benefits,” he said.
He also noted that the implementation of the agreement between the two will take a long time to fully implement and that Greece must make sure this time is used to best protect its interests.
“As a country, we have to use this time constructively in order to put together an agreement, down to the last detail, that rules out unpleasant surprises at the expense of our country and its business community,” Michalos said.
The issue of commercial and brand names and trademarks used by both Greek and neighbouring country products was crucial for the business community, he added, since major issues were exected to arise following the change in its name.
In the three years provided by the agreement to settle the issue of commercial and brand names, the Greek government must ensure that there is no deleterious change regarding the commercial naming of Greek products, including protected designation of origin (PDO) or protected geographical indication (PGI) products, Michalos noted.
The Greek side should also ensure that its northern neighbours did not copy strong Greek brands linked to the Greek province of Macedonia.