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Fri, Jun 22, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Starbucks signs deal giving credit to Ethiopian beans

AFP , ADDIS ABABA

US coffee-shop chain Starbucks agreed to credit Ethiopia's unique bean varieties on its labels in a deal signed on Wednesday, ending a long-brewing trademark dispute.

Starbucks "will not oppose Ethiopia's efforts to obtain trademarks for its specialty coffees," said Ethiopian Ambassador to the US Samuel Assefa.

"Ethiopia salutes Starbucks for its exemplary display of global corporate citizenship," he said in a statement.

Ethiopia, Africa's largest coffee producer, wants to protect its Harrar, Sidamo and Yirgacheffe varieties, something US coffee roasters and the US trademark office fought.

"Our customers know that some of the highest quality coffees in the world come from Ethiopia," Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz said.

"This agreement supports both the Ethiopian specialty coffee industry and the farmers and their communities that produce these fine coffees while allowing us to bring them to our customers around the world," he said in a statement.

"The commitment and support of Starbucks will help enhance the quality of Ethiopian fine coffees and improve the income of farmers and traders," Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office Director General Getachew Mengistie said in the joint statement.

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