Lawmakers call for food name protections in trade deals

A Congressional bipartisan group of more than 110 law makers are asking the U.S. Ag Secretary and Trade Rep for stronger protections on common American food and wine names.

The lawmakers want common food and wine names to be a core negotiating objective in all trade deals to preserve American export opportunities.

They say a campaign by the European Union misuses protections meant for geographical indications (GI) and restricts the use of traditional terms in order to block competition from accurately labeled U.S. food and wine exports which erodes U.S. access to key markets overseas.

They want the agencies to draw from precedent set in the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement and say ongoing negotiations with the United Kingdom and Kenya could further strengthen the U.S. position on common food names.

The letter follows a similar one sent by more than 60 Senators in July and was led by Reps. Jim Costa (D-CA), Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Angie Craig (D-MN), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Ron Kind (D-WI), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Mike Kelly (R-PA). 

Ag groups including the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, North American Meat Institute, National Milk Producers Federation and U.S. Dairy Export Council applaud the effort.

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