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Geographical Indications

The European Union wants to expand rules that identify products by where they originate — so-called Geographical Indications or GIs — as a way to increase its sales of cheese across the globe. This means that U.S. companies would no longer be able to sell cheese labeled with common names such as parmesan, feta and asiago in the U.S. and foreign markets.

Currently, the EU is trying to win more market share by attempting to claim sole rights to use common names. The U.S. dairy industry does not oppose legitimate GIs, but the EU’s push in trade negotiations for onerous restrictions in third-country markets goes too far. IDFA believes trade agreements should not impose restrictions like these on market access and intellectual property rights.

Surrendering to the EU’s seizure of common food names would cost the U.S. dairy industry billions of dollars, slash domestic cheese consumption and increase prices for consumers, according to an analysis released by Informa Economics IEG.

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