Congress gave President Barack Obama authority to fast-track those trade talks, but there’s still not a done deal. Negotiations continue later this month to finalize the trade pact. But one agenda item is causing friction between the U.S. and another part of the world. Politico reports that the latest flash point is over food, setting up a battle between America and the European Union.
This is all part of an ongoing fight between the U.S. and EU, which is very good at protecting food names such as Champagne, Gorgonzola cheese or Parma ham. That’s a big deal for producers of particular types of good. Take Gouda cheese — The EU awarded the Dutch a protected geographical indication for Gouda cheese.
“They get very upset when firms elsewhere use that name to identify the product,” says Gary Hufbauer, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “They don’t want others crowding into what they regard as their market and that’s what’s at stake.”
And that fight is now apparently playing out in America’s trade dealings with Asia. American food makers want to sell more there, and don’t want to be told what to label their products. That’s why high-paid lobbyists and politicians are talking about American cheeses and sausages.