May 14, 2016

Should Parmesan Cheese Only Be Produced in Europe?

 |  By: Anna-Lisa Laca

The Trans-Atlantic Trade Investment Partnership agreement (TTIP) has been a hub of trade discussion for several months. The deal is said to be on a rocky path of negotiation and one of those pinch points is Geographical Indicators (GIs). Europe is adamant that products like Parmesan and Feta cheese can only be made in Europe. The U.S. dairy industry doesn’t agree. This morning Shawna Morris of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), one of several trade groups advocating against GIs explained the organization’s position on AgriTalk.  

“Products we recognize as mainstays like Parmesan we think can be made anywhere around the world and the EU thinks have to be made in Europe,” she says.

According to Morris, NMPF is not strictly against the agreement, but are instead “underscoring what we need to see.”

A large part of that are the GIs in the agreement.

“What we can’t support is taking the concept of free trade agreements and turning them on their head,” she said.

Trade agreements are meant to level the playing field and give no one country an advantage on the world market. She said so far this agreement isn’t doing that.

“We are looking to ensure that the agreement opens barriers for U.S. products instead of handicapping our producers,” she said.

 World markets are critical to the health of the U.S. dairy industry. According to Morris, one day out of every week’s worth of milk production is exported overseas.

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