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Hough Defends Common Cheese Names at T-TIP Stakeholder Event

May 21, 2014
Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president, addresses stakeholders.

The fifth round of talks in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) negotiations are being held this week in Arlington, Va. During today's stakeholder event for policy presentations, Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president, outlined the U.S. dairy industry’s position on geographical indications to U.S. and EU negotiators, other business organizations and members of the media.

The stakeholder event also featured a briefing with Chief U.S. Negotiator Dan Mullaney and Chief EU Negotiator Ignacio Garcia-Bercero.

Hough’s presentation centered on protecting common food names for use by U.S. dairy companies. Noting that the U.S. dairy industry is not opposed to legitimate GIs, Hough said, “The EU’s recent GI strategy is incompatible with the fundamental goal of a trade negotiation, which is to remove trade barriers—not add them—and  allow for greater competition.  T-TIP should not be a vehicle to deny U.S. dairy companies the use of common food names.”

This issue has garnered tremendous support from Congress. In March, 55 senators signed a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to reject the EU’s attempt in T-TIP negotiations to claim exclusive use of common cheese names, both in the U.S. and abroad.  Last week, 177 House Members sent a similar letter to Froman and Vilsack, highlighting how the EU uses GIs to “carve out exclusive market access for its own producers.”

IDFA will continue to work to ensure U.S. dairy exporters are not locked out of key markets by the EU.  As negotiations continue between the United States and the EU, GIs will remain a top priority for IDFA.

For more information, contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at

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