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April 1, 2014

Dairy Industry Up Against EU Geographic Indicators

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

Geographic indicators are a way of labeling products to tie them to particular places in an effort to enhance marketability. Through the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations, the European Union is trying to get the United States to accept this approach. Seanica Otterby has the story.
OtterbyThe European Union claims dairy products with certain names, for instance parmesan cheese, are geographic indicators and can only be properly displayed on products in certain areas of Europe. American Farm Bureau trade specialist Dave Salmonsen says this issue is similar to a wine agreement between the EU and U.S. many years ago restricting the use of the name champagne because it’s from a certain area of France.
SalmonsenThat is the approach that is under negotiation. Here at the American Farm Bureau, working with the people in the dairy industry and other industries. This works into the meat industry also. Think of the use of the word bologna, which is a city in Italy, how that would affect the marketing, the familiarity of names that we have for everyday products.
OtterbyThe EU already has tariffs and standard issues that make it difficult to export U.S. dairy products there, but Salmonsen says the naming issue could add to these trade barriers.
SalmonsenThis is a part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiation. This issue does crop up in other areas, but it’s really focusing now into that negotiation, which covers a lot of issue areas, on barriers to our beef, pork and poultry exports, and geographic indicators is another one of the list of issues in this overall negotiation.
OtterbyMore than 50 U.S. senators have written a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack opposing the use of geographic indicators. Salmonsen says Farm Bureau is working to ensure the U.S. government is fully aware of the industry’s concerns as negotiations move forward. Seanica Otterby, Washington.

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