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To Brie or Not to Brie: U.S. Dairy Industry Lauds Protections

To Brie or Not to Brie: U.S. Dairy Industry Lauds Protections

Los Angeles, CA – The U.S. dairy industry is applauding the stronger protections being provided common food names that resulted from the recent meetings of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in Chicago.

The protections “should facilitate export of a variety of U.S.-produced dairy products, particularly cheese, to China,” said Tom Suber, president of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC).

“We are extremely pleased that the United States and China have agreed to strong protections for products using well-established cheese names as we seek to expand exports to this key market.”

The JCCT result “lays out common principles for how geographical indications should be handled, as well as a commitment to future dialogue on GIs [geographical indications] between the two countries,” said Suber.

The USDEC as joined by the National Milk Producers Association and the International Dairy Foods Association in lauding the new protections.

The trio of trade groups are the largest in the country representing the $125 billion U.S. dairy industry.

The issue of common food names and their relationship to GIs has generated considerable discussion this year due to European Union efforts to impose bans on the use of feta, parmesan, asiago, muenster and other common cheese names in international trade unless the products are produced in Europe.

The EU is using the ongoing Trans-Atlantic free trade negotiations “to impose these bans. In addition, it is seeking GI-specific agreements with individual countries, including China,” according to a joint statement from the three trade groups.


Dairy Groups Demand Greater Market Access

Washington, DC – Two major US dairy industry groups are saying they will oppose any transpacific trade pact if Japan and Canada “continue to limit their markets to increased US dairy exports.”

Japan and Canada “are dragging their feet…and US negotiators must insist on “meaningful dairy market access,” the National Milk Producers Federation and the US Dairy Export Council said in a recent letter to US Trade Representative, Michael Froman and Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.

The two industry groups said Canada “would probably be guided by Japan in deciding on any changes to its dairy market access” and that any negotiations to forge the Transpacific Partnership (TTP) would have to address New Zealand government programs that are seen to benefit Fonterra, the world’s biggest dairy exporter that controls nearly a third of global dairy trade.

“Our support for TPP is not unconditional,” said the letter, signed by 39 US dairy companies and cooperatives.

“The elements cited here, which largely remain unresolved, must be concluded in a positive manner or our industry will find it difficult to support the final agreement.”

The TPP’s stated goal is to eliminate tariffs and other barriers to goods and services trade. USTR Michael Froman said after the Singapore round of TPP talks in May that the US “is pressing for tariffs to be eliminated to the maximum extent possible.”

A spokesman for Froman said the US “had made it clear to trading partners that it expected the final TPP agreement to reflect the ambitious goals all countries signed up to.”

Like all exporters, he added, “America’s dairy farmers have a lot to gain through the Trans-Pacific Partnership and we are working hard to unlock opportunities for them throughout the Asia-Pacific region.”

The TPP would consist of 12 nations that account for two-fifths of the world economy and a third of global trade.