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Washington D.C., July 1, 2020 - The Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) applauds the activation of groundbreaking protections for common food names as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) enters into force today. These protections will more effectively combat the European Union's (EU) efforts to seize exclusive use of common food and wine terms in the critical Mexican market.
"USMCA will preserve hard-won market access in Mexico by strengthening important safeguards for American farm and food producers who have been producing common name products, in some cases, for generations," said CCFN Executive Director Jaime Castaneda. "There is no doubt that the EU will continue to seek to undermine our rights to use common food and wine terms, in both Mexico and around the world, and the U.S. government must be fully prepared to not only enforce the commitments made through USMCA, but also press forward on the inclusion of even more robust protections in all future trade negotiations."
USMCA includes two side letter agreements with Mexico that provide targeted market access assurances for U.S. common name products. A side letter to USMCA establishes a non-exhaustive list of commonly produced products that Mexico commits it will not restrict the use of, including terms such as mozzarella, cheddar, havarti, swiss, and others. A second side letter with Mexico clarifies that "prior users" granted grandfathering rights under the 2018 EU-Mexico trade agreement includes all elements of the supply chain, namely producers, distributors, marketers, importers and exporters.
As Mexico and Europe move toward implementation of the EU-Mexico Free Trade Agreement reached in 2018, enforcement of these agreements will be critical towards securing the full range of protections negotiated within USMCA. USMCA's activation today drives home the urgent need to carry this work forward by securing common name safeguard commitments with a wide range of U.S. trading partners in order to more effectively combat the EU's efforts to misuse geographical indications to restrict competition from other suppliers.
The Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) is an independent, international non-profit alliance whose goal is to work with leaders in agriculture, trade and intellectual property rights to foster the adoption of high standards and model geographical indication guidelines throughout the world. Those interested in joining can find information at www.CommonFoodNames.com.