A new study commissioned by the U.S. Dairy Export Council and the Consortium for Common Food Names forecasts severe consequences for U.S. cheese exports if the European Union (EU) is successful in further expanding restrictions on the use of generic terms such as parmesan, asiago and feta.
If the EU’s geographical indication (GI) initiatives were to be enforced on U.S. cheeses, the study conducted by Informa Agribusiness Consulting predicts the dairy industry could see a dramatic drop in demand for U.S. cheeses, with prices falling 14 percent and resulting revenue losses between $9.5 billion and $20.2 billion depending on consumers’ willingness to pay for recognizable cheese names.
“The European Union has repeatedly targeted the U.S. dairy industry by undermining our ability to freely use generic cheese names in foreign markets,” said Tom Vilsack, chairman and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. “The United States must make it abundantly clear that attempts to restrict common names in our domestic market will be met with swift and forceful opposition.”
The impact of GI restrictions would not be limited to the U.S. cheese industry with grave effects on both the milk industry, through plummeting prices and shifting demand, and the broader U.S. economy. Informa’s study reveals potential jobs losses ranging from 108,000 up to 223,000 across the supply chain.
“Failing to confront the European Union’s aggression will have a serious impact on the United States' ability to continue to expand exports, negating the important progress dairy has made towards securing The Next 5 percent,” Vilsack added.
The Next 5 Percent is an industry initiative to increase U.S. dairy export volume from approximately 15 percent of the U.S. milk supply to 20 percent through a coordinated effort between USDEC and dairy suppliers that builds upon existing markets and cultivates new ones.
About USDEC: The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) is a non-profit, independent membership organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. Its mission is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and assist the U.S. industry to increase its global dairy ingredient sales and exports of U.S. dairy products. USDEC accomplishes this through programs in market development that build global demand for U.S. dairy products, resolve market access barriers and advance industry trade policy goals. USDEC is supported by staff across the United States and overseas in Mexico, South America, Asia, Middle East and Europe. See www.usdec.org.