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NMPF Takes Aim at Misuse of GIs

March 4, 2020

With the European Union (EU) continuing its aggressive campaign to confiscate common food names at the expense of American dairy farmers and consumers, NMPF is backing U.S. government efforts to defend U.S. exports.

The federal government over the past year defended American-made exports via approval of USMCA and through incorporating new safeguards for common names in its Phase One negotiations with China. During recent meetings with European agriculture and trade officials, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue made it clear that the EU must drop its GI agenda in order to successfully negotiate a trade deal with the U.S.

However, NMPF is urging the U.S. government to more proactively posture confront this issue to preserve market access, protect American jobs and defend the legitimate rights of food manufacturers, farmers and exporters. NMPF joined  with USDEC and CCFN to issue a joint statement Jan. 30 applauding Secretary Perdue’s commitment to protecting common names. “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,” the statement said. “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.”

NMPF and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) also raised the issues of GIs in a joint statement submitted to the USTR touting support for a detailed accounting of global GI barriers submitted by the Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) in response to USTR’s call for input to inform its annual Special 301 report on intellectual property issues.

NMPF is an active member of CCFN, which works to dismantle trade barriers that prevent the U.S. dairy industry from selling common-name cheeses abroad. CCFN’s comments lay out concerns regarding the misuse of GIs on a country-by-country basis, focusing on the EU’s push to use GIs to block U.S. exports.