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EU Continues Imposing GI Trade Barriers

The EU continues to impose trade barriers to U.S. ag goods, especially dairy products, based on geographical names, but a top USDA official says the U.S. is pushing back against such long-term discrimination.

The way Minnesota Senator Tina Smith sees it; “The European Union continues to impose geographical indications that can block the use of commonly used household names for cheese and other products, and this is a significant barrier, a roadblock for U.S. dairy producers.”

Especially for those making cheeses like parmesan, asiago, romano, and fontina. And while some like parmesan are named after places like Parma, Italy, USDA trade Undersecretary Alexis Taylor says others may not be. Taylor; “I have yet to see Feta on a map. So, I think at times, these GIs are also clearly, to restrict our trade.”

Taylor says the U.S. is pushing back against the decades-old EU GI barrier via those doing trade deals with Europe and others. Taylor; “That this doesn’t become a new trade barrier for our exports, and then we’re also engaging in multilateral forum about this issue. So, the WTO, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperative forum, APEC, and then, there is a world intellectual property organization, as well, where we are engaging to make sure that intellectual property rights are being respected.”

The EU protects regionally named products via a registration system and argues doing so adds value and protects consumers from imitations.

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