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Use Trade Talks to Address 'Protectionist' EU Dairy Measures

20 May 2014

US/EU – Trade talks with the European Union (EU) should be used to address export barriers on US dairy produce, says a group of House of Representatives members.

In a letter to US trade representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the representatives called for action to erode ‘protectionist measures’ currently blocking US dairy products from Europe.

The letter noted that EU dairy tariffs stand at three times that of US dairy tariffs, contributing to the $1.3 billion trade deficit for US dairy products.

“While the EU enjoys a country-specific tariff rate quota for dairy access into the US market, the US has no such similar preferential access to EU countries,” said the members.

“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 US access into the EU market.”

A further concern regarded the restricted use of what the letter described as ‘common food names’ due to geographical indication regulations.

Restricting products, such as parmesan and havarti, to specific production regions means EU producers are put at a market advantage, the letter added.

“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," said the letter.

“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.”

TheCattleSite News Desk

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