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EU Is Bullying Trading Partners into Violating Trade Rules, NMPF Tells U.S. Official

November 6, 2015

The European Union, by using free trade agreements to limit the use of common cheese names by non-EU producers, is bullying its trading partners into violating international trade rules, NMPF and the U.S. Dairy Export Council told U.S. trade officials.

In comments filed October 28 with the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the two groups said the European Union is pursuing an increasingly aggressive strategy to restrict the use of cheese names like feta and parmesan.

“This is intended to award EU companies with the sole right to use many terms that have already entered into wide-spread common usage around the world,” they said. “We view the EU’s efforts as bullying its trading partners into violating their World Trade Organization commitments and, where those countries have FTAs with the U.S., their commitments under those agreements, as well.”

The comments detailed more than a dozen examples in which the European Union has or is attempting to restrict the use of generic cheese names through FTAs or other negotiated trade agreements.

Also in their comments on the National Trade Estimate Report, NMPF and USDEC cited numerous other examples of foreign countries using tariff and nontariff barriers to limit U.S. dairy exports. The countries involved include Canada, China, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Israel, Japan and New Zealand.