January 30, 2020

Perdue Calls European Union GI Rules Hypocritical

 |  By: Anna-Lisa Laca

During a recent trade meeting with the European Union (EU), Agriculture Secretary Perdue noted the “hypocrisy” of some of the EU’s Geographical Indicators (GIs) as a major hurdle for a trade deal, according to AgriPulse. Purdue added that European immigrants when founding the U.S. used the same language for products they produced here as they used for them in Europe. 

“We feel like they are generic in scope and have no basis in trademarks or those kinds of things. They obviously feel differently,” Perdue said adding the example of feta cheese. He said Greece is known for Feta, but there’s not a place called Feta, Greece. 

“There’s certainly not a Feta, France, where France exports feta cheese to the United States, but they cannot export it internally within the EU,” he said.

Perdue noted that working out GI issues would be necessary for a successful trade deal with the EU. 

The U.S. Dairy Export Council, the National Milk Producers Federation and the Consortium for Common Food Names, praised Perdue for supporting the GI concerns that limit exports of U.S. cheeses around the world. 

“The EU’s patently unfair trade policies, including the misuse of GI protections, have resulted in a lopsided trade dynamic where trade benefits only flow one-way: toward Europe. As Secretary Perdue rightly noted, Europe’s unfair trade barriers have less to do with preserving the rights of legitimate GIs than with restricting competition from exceptional U.S. products,” they said in a press release. “We commend Secretary Perdue for his firm stance defending the rights of U.S. farmers and food producers to use the common names consumers know and love. Dismantling EU trade barriers that drive the dairy deficit and cause undue harm to our industry must remain a top priority in negotiations with the EU.”