A bipartisan group of 177 members of the U.S. House of Representatives urged the Obama administration to use the transatlantic trade talks with the European Union (EU) to address a variety of export barriers hampering the U.S. dairy industry. Among the barriers are the EU’s recent efforts to prevent U.S. companies from using common food names like parmesan and feta in export markets, including the EU, and even in the U.S. domestic market. removeal
The Congressional Dairy Farmer Caucus co-chairs, led by Reps. Reid Ribble and Peter Welch, spearheaded the letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. In that message House members said negotiations with the European Union over the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) offer a good opportunity to address protectionist measures that block U.S. dairy sales to 500 million consumers.
“While the EU enjoys a country-specific tariff rate quota for dairy access into the U.S. market, the U.S. has no such similar preferential access to EU countries,” the letter said. “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 U.S. access into the EU market.”
Also in the letter, House members singled out EU efforts to restrict the use of many common food names under the guise of geographical indication regulations.
With the exception of the EU market, U.S. dairy exports have risen dramatically across the globe in recent years, reaching $6.7 billion in 2013 and accounting for more than 15 percent of domestic milk production.