Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Friday 04/04/14

Senators See No Place for Geographical Indicators

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas is probably just the guy to diplomatically express to European Union where to stick a geographical indicator.

Roberts, along with Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, spearheaded a letter signed by 45 total senators (30 Republicans, 15 Democrats) asking Trade Ambassador Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to fight against geographical indicators being pushed by the European Union in the possible trade deal.

Europe likes to declare that certain foods contain special characteristics and thus can only called that food if it came from this place or that. It's also a handy way of keeping a competing food product from being imported. The issue has been raised over cheeses such as parmesan and feta. The senators in their letter specifically cited common terms for meat such as bologna, bratwurst or kielbasa.

As Roberts stated, "This is totally ridiculous. We cannot let the European Union slant the playing field to their advantage through absurd restrictions on what a food can be named. American producers should not be blocked from trading with other nations, especially those we have free-trade agreements with, based simply on what we name our product."

In their letter, the senators wrote, "In country after country, the EU has been using its FTAs to persuade trading partners to impose barriers to U.S. exports under the guise of protecting GIs (geographical indictors). This trade-damaging practice is concerning anywhere, but it is most troubling where the U.S. has an established FTA or is actively negotiating a new agreement. For example, as part of their recently implemented FTA with the EU, countries in Central America agreed to impose new restrictions on the use of "bologna," effectively closing an export opportunity that the U.S.-Central America FTA opened for U.S. companies. Similar trade barriers are being imposed in other parts of Latin America and are also under discussion in many Asian countries involved in negotiations with the EU."

The senators said the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is intended to improve the economies of both the U.S. and Europe by lowering trade barriers, but that would be watered down by the EU's "gratuitous use" of geographical indicators to protect local markets.

Follow me on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

Posted at 3:11PM CDT 04/04/14 by Chris Clayton
Post a Blog Comment:
Your Comment:
DTN reserves the right to delete comments posted to any of our blogs and forums, for reasons including profanity, libel, irrelevant personal attacks and advertisements.
Blog Home Pages
March  2015
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31            
Subscribe to Ag Policy Blog RSS
Recent Blog Posts
  • ASA Seeks to Change Dialogue on GMO Labeling Debate
  • Farmers and Battles Over State Taxes
  • Former Congressman Looks at Ag Policy Challenges Ahead
  • One More ARC-PLC Analysis as Base Acre Deadline Looms
  • Ag Contracts Transitioning to Ag Consolidation
  • Tentative Deal Reached in West Coast Ports Labor Dispute
  • Senator Turns Crop Insurance into a Pork Parody
  • All About That Base
  • Dueling Biotech Labeling Efforts in Congress
  • Crop Insurance Cuts and the Chronic Budget Problem
  • Great, Another COOL Blog
  • Ag Groups Seek to Avoid Cuts in Crop Insurance
  • Senators Renew Effort to Cap Crop Insurance Premium Subsidies
  • Congressman Presses EPA on maps Leading to CWA Hearing
  • The Conflicting Signals Around Agriculture and Climate Change
  • FSA Head Making the Rounds on Farm Program Enrollment
  • Capturing the Drama of Farmland Transfers
  • Iowa Seeks to Ramp Up Politics of Ethanol
  • White House Tax Plan Targets Capital Gains, Stepped Up Basis
  • Corn Ethanol Target of Keystone Amendment