NAFTA, Mexico-EU and Mercosur-EU Trade Deals Still in Process

March 12th, 2018

Three of the largest trade deals currently in the works – each with potential impact on geographical indications – are the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the EU’s negotiations with Mexico, and with the Mercosur bloc (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay). The deals all remain active, but with their outcomes uncertain. With Canada, the United States and Mexico having recently wrapped up their seventh round of negotiations on NAFTA, CCFN continues to urge that these talks yield a modernized agreement that addresses abusive non-tariff barrier tactics such as the use of GIs to impede the sale of common food names. CCFN has talked with key U.S. congressional members involved in the negotiations about the importance of the U.S. holding firm on matters concerning common food and beverage terms.

And in extensive comments to the Mexican government related to the EU-Mexico trade negotiations, CCFN made clear that Mexico must reject the EU’s request to appropriate such common cheese names as “feta”, “asiago”, and “gorgonzola” (see CCFN press release). Mexico’s decision on EU’s GI list is still pending.

As for EU-Mercosur, the latest round of talks ended on March 2; the issue of GIs remains on the table. CCFN worked with our allies in those countries throughout much of 2017 and provided extensive comments to the Mercosur nations late last year (see CCFN press release), raising objections to generic terms on the EU’s published list of GIs to be protected. With about 260 million consumers, Mercosur is the fifth largest market in the world.