• In a recent letter to Japan’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, several dairy industry associations urged Japan to respect current trade relationships with respect to geographical indicators (GIs). Noting that Japan and the European Union (EU) are in the final stages of negotiating a free trade agreement, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) stated in the letter, “…it is imperative that Japan’s efficient and transparent GI review process ensures that generic names and terms remain accessible to all.” The associations suggested the term “Parmigiano Reggiano” is an acceptable GI but that “parmesan” should be a generic term.
  • In the recently completed European Union-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), IDFA suggested that some of the GI protections amount to trade barriers. Of particular concern, according to IDFA, is the protection that the EU gained for five generic cheese names: “asiago,” “feta,” “fontina,” “gorgonzola” and “muenster.” “The outcome in CETA on GIs goes against the very core of a trade agreement, which is to remove trade barriers – not erect new ones – and allow for greater competition,” Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of IDFA, stated in a press release.
  • The Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) told U.S. trade representatives that common food and beverage names should be safeguarded as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is re-negotiated. “The [EU] has been waging a predatory strategy on GIs that is designed to monopolize commonly used names for many cheeses, wines, meats and other foods,” CCFS Senior Director Shawna Morris, stated in an August 31 press release.
  • As we reported previously on this blog, a study commissioned by CCFN on extending GI protections recommended by the EU could cost the U.S. dairy industry billions of dollars.