CCFN Reacts Quickly to MERCOSUR Mandates

August 30th, 2020

CCFN received notice earlier this summer that all prior users of select common names identified as GIs in the EU-MERCOSUR free trade agreement (FTA) needed to provide proof of use in that market prior to the end of June in order to safeguard their rights. This was despite the fact that the EU and MERCOSUR have still not formally consented to be bound by the terms of the treaty by fully concluding it.

This was the latest warning flag that the EU-MERCOSUR FTA will be implemented without full transparency, with the potential to grievously harm those using common names in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

CCFN acted quickly to alert the U.S. government of these looming trade barriers and requested that the U.S. Trade Representative immediately reach out to its MERCOSUR counterparts and make clear the importance of preventing trade barriers to U.S. exports of common food names. In addition, CCFN was able to file affidavits and oppositions in an effort to protect the common names parmesano, parmesao, fontina, gruyere, reggianito, grana, gorgonzola and manchego. CCFN continues to explore other legal options to challenge this process as greater flexibility on the cited criteria is critical to allow sufficient usage of any prior use terms secured in this region.

In addition, CCFN placed an advertisement on one of Brazil’s most-visited websites warning that without immediate action, the EU-MERCOSUR FTA will hand common food names like parmesan exclusively to Europe. CCFN remains engaged on this issue to ensure that the EU’s attempts to seize the common names used by producers in the MERCOSUR markets do not go unchallenged.