Producers brace for blue over cheese

14 August 2019


Farmers across the region are being urged to review the details of the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the European Union (EU) and Australia.

Member for Euroa and The Nationals’ deputy leader Steph Ryan said the Federal Government was seeking feedback on the impacts that might arise from the proposed agreement.

“Local wine producers are fighting a move by the EU to ban them from using the term prosecco,” Ms Ryan said.

“The EU is now seeking to protect a number of other food names, known as geographical indicators, as part of negotiations over a free trade agreement.

“These protections are a real bone of contention for a lot of Australian producers.

“In total, the EU wants 236 spirit names and 172 agricultural and other foodstuff names as geographical indicators in Australia including dairy, meat, smallgoods, horticulture, confectionery, oils, beer and spirits.

“A number of these goods are the common names used for products in Australia. The EU’s demands could have significant ramifications for local farmers, including cheese makers, pork and olive oil producers.

“Parmesan, gorgonzola, Grana Padano, taleggio, haloumi, brie, camembert, edam, gouda, pecorino and cheddar could all be impacted.

“The geographical indicators also include meats like bresola, jamon and prosciutto.”

Ms Ryan said producers had the opportunity to object to the protections the EU was trying to place on particular products.

“There’s no doubt that market access to the EU would be a huge boon for many producers, but it is important that the rights of Australian farmers are not traded away,” Ms Ryan.

“The European Union is an enormous market, with a gross domestic product of more than $17 trillion US dollars and a population of half a billion people.”

To view the full list of European geographical indicators, visit https://dfat.gov.au/trade/agreements/negotiations/aeufta/public-objections-gis/Pages/list-of-european-union-geographic-indications-gis.aspx

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