Dairy Industry Encouraged by Trade Talks with China on Cheese Names

Dairy Industry Encouraged by Trade Talks with China on Cheese Names

Dairy industry pleased with outcome on U.S. trade talks with China regarding common cheese names

Dairy groups reported positive results from last week's trade talks with China at the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade meetings, noting a commitment to stronger protections for common food names.

The outcome of the meeting should facilitate export of products like feta and parmesan cheese to China, which is a particularly large and fast-growing market for U.S. dairy products, the groups said.

The JCCT result lays out common principles for how geographical indications should be handled, as well as a commitment to future dialogue on GIs between the two countries.

Related: U.S. Dairy Industry Pushes Back on EU's Claim to Cheese Names

Various types of cheese are displayed at the Home Economist store in Skokie, Ill. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

"The outcome of the JCCT meetings is a great example of the progress that can result from frank and productive collaboration between two trading partners," said Connie Tipton, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association.

Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, added that the U.S. negotiators' recognition of the importance of common name preservation to U.S. exports is appreciated.

The issue of common food names and their relationship to geographical indications has generated considerable discussion this year due to European Union efforts to impose bans on the use of feta, parmesan, asiago, muenster and other common cheese names in international trade unless the products are manufactured in Europe.

Related: EU-Canada Trade Deal Creates Barriers for US Cheese, Dairy Industry Says

The EU is using talks like those under way for a Trans-Atlantic free trade agreement to impose these bans, the dairy groups said. The EU also is seeking GI-specific agreements with individual countries, including China.

The U.S. dairy industry has strongly opposed EU efforts to impose these trade barriers as a way to limit global competition, the groups said.


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