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IDFA, Others Offer Senate Briefing on GIs

Apr 20, 2016
Beth Hughes of IDFA and William Westman of the North American Meat Institute participated in the briefing.

IDFA and four other organizations hosted a briefing last Friday on the key trade issues that will be at stake during the next round of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) negotiations. The briefing, which focused on geographical indications (GIs), drew several staff members of senators who serve on the Senate agriculture, judiciary and finance committees.

IDFA joined representatives of the National Milk Producers Federation, the Wine Institute, the North American Meat Institute and the National Association of Manufacturers to explain how the European Union’s stance on GIs would be harmful to many U.S. companies. If included, the EU-supported provisions could stop U.S. companies from using many common food terms like parmesan, champagne, feta and bologna in the United States and markets around the world.

“The current framework proposed by the EU includes clauses for grandfathering, limited protections and no process for the U.S. to oppose new GI applications,” said Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at the briefing. “A fair trade deal would not impose restrictions like these on market access and intellectual property rights.”

She explained that the EU is requesting a disproportionate amount of protections for European products and has offered no finite list of common food names that would be included within the scope of the agreement.

IDFA plans to hold a similar briefing for House staff members later this spring. For more information, contact Hughes at bhughes@idfa.org.

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William Loux (left), regulatory administrative assistant at IDFA, welcomed Senate staff and other attendees to the briefing. 
 
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