Although non-Brazilian’s compare cachaça to rum, their only similarity is that they both originate from sugarcane. Cachaça first gained popularity among slaves and peasants during Brazil’s colonial period but the spirit has recently become a favorite domestically and internationally regardless of the drinker’s class. Also, Brazilian cachaça exports to Europe and the United States have been aided by the trendy drink, the caipirinha. The cocktail’s global success has inspired other Caribbean and South American states to produce their own 'cachaça-like alcohols'. Consequently, the Brazilian government has initiated protectionist measures at home and abroad to preserve cachaça’s foreign markets. These developments bring together cachaça’s trade, cultural, and environmental aspects.
To protect its cachaça industry, the Brazilian government has imposed several regulatory measures in recent years. In 2001, President Fernando Enrique Cardoso signed a decree establishing cachaça as the official and exclusive name for cane alcohol in Brazil. However, while it tried to prohibit the use of the name elsewhere, the Brazilian government failed on several grounds due to lack of clarity and clear definition. In October 2003, the government, under President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, issued another decree with greater specifications on cachaça and the caipirinha. Brazil has also sent the issue to the World Trade Organization in hopes that cachaça will gain protection under the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement (TRIPS). Moreover, Brazil is currently involved in bilateral negotiations with the European Union to ensure that the cachaça name will be used only with Brazilian products within member states.