WASHINGTON, May 15, 2014-- A bipartisan group of 177 members of the U.S. House of Representatives today asked the Obama administration to use the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) talks with the European Union (EU) to address export barriers, specifically for food names.

Wisconsin Republican Reid Ribble and Vermont Democrat Peter Welch, both Congressional Dairy Farmer Caucus co-chairs, led the letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The group said that EU’s export barriers include preventing U.S. companies from using common food names like parmesan and feta in export markets. 

House members said EU efforts to restrict the use of food names are being pursued under the guise of geographical indication regulations.

“The EU is taking a mechanism that was created to protect consumers against misleading information and instead using it to carve out exclusive market access for its own producers,” they said. “This type of barrier to trade and commerce defies the fundamental goals of a trade agreement, and we urge you to work aggressively against the EU’s efforts ….”

The House members also said EU dairy tariffs have contributed to the $1.3 billion trade deficit for U.S. dairy products.

“While the EU enjoys a country-specific tariff rate quota for dairy access into the U.S. market, the U.S. has no such similar preferential access to EU countries,” they said. “Furthermore, while U.S. certification requirements for the vast majority of EU dairy products are relatively nominal, EU certificate requirements for dairy products are more extensive, impeding U.S. access into the EU market.”


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