US Senators urge the USTR to protect American food names abroad

July 31, 2020 – – Agricultural and food interests are praising a bipartisan Senate letter sent today to US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer and US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging stronger international safeguards to protect US exporters using common food and wine terms.

Havarti Cheese

Senators. John Thune (R-SD), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) led this effort that resulted in support from a total of 61 Senators.

The letter requests that the US government strengthen their common food name protections as a core policy objective in all trade-related discussions. This is a direct challenge to the European Union (EU)’s misuse of protections meant for valid geographical indications (GIs) to instead block American exports of common or generic food and wine terms, such as parmesan, feta, bologna or chateau. These unjustified trade barriers harm American farmers, limit choices for consumers and have put manufacturing jobs across an essential sector at risk.

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