IDFA unhappy over trade agreement terms

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

Five European cheeses that have received protection under the CETA agreement are generic cheeses, the US dairy industry argues. Pic:© Getty Images/JackF
Five European cheeses that have received protection under the CETA agreement are generic cheeses, the US dairy industry argues. Pic:© Getty Images/JackF

Related tags: International trade

The European Union-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) has been provisionally implemented, however, the US dairy industry isn’t impressed with some European cheese names being protected.

The industry is unhappy about the automatic protection the EU gained for five cheese names it says are generic: Asiago, Feta, Fontina, Gorgonzola and Munster.

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) said the EU is using geographical indications (GIs) to erect trade barriers.

US cheese manufacturers that began producing those types of cheeses after October 18, 2013, will be required to add qualifiers, such as "kind," "type," "style" and "imitation" for sales in Canada.

Restricts US access

The IDFA said the limitations on the use of what it said are generic names violate Canadian intellectual property procedures and existing international trade commitments.

Canada also reallocated 800 metric tons of its 20,412-metric-ton World Trade Organization tariff-rate quota for cheese to the EU.

This reallocation further restricts the limited access US cheese exporters have into the Canadian market, the IDFA also argued.

"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,"​ said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of IDFA.

"We are diligently working to ensure strong provisions that protect generic terms are included in NAFTA 2.0, as well as to discourage Mexico from going down the Canadian path as it negotiates a GIs list with the EU."

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, Cheese

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