|WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), joined by Patrick Toomey (R-PA), Rob Portman (R-OH) and others, today fought attempts by the European Union (EU) to impair U.S. trade by restricting the ability of U.S. producers to use the common names of meat products like bologna and black forest ham at home and abroad.
“This is totally ridiculous,” Roberts said. “We cannot let the European Union slant the playing field to their advantage through absurd restrictions on what a food can be named. American producers should not be blocked from trading with other nations, especially those we have free-trade agreements with, based simply on what we name our product.”
“Wisconsin has a long tradition and proud reputation in our cheese making and meat producing. These industries are vital to our state’s economy and our heritage,” Baldwin said. “The current trade negotiations with the European Union threaten not only the names of common state products, but also key drivers of our Wisconsin economy. We must restrict any proposal that limits our Wisconsin businesses’ ability to export and compete both domestically and internationally. I am standing up for Wisconsin brats and cheese.”
"The EU is at it again," said Toomey. "First, they want to stop Pennsylvania’s dairy producers from using some common cheese names. Now they are going after meat producers. Most Americans just want to fix their kids a bologna and cheese sandwich without ridiculous EU trade guidelines that could be confusing and threaten Pennsylvania jobs. These guidelines would impose barriers to U.S. sausage and processed meat exports under the pretext of protecting European regional production. I urge the USDA and the USTR to fight back against any attempt by the EU to restrict the use of these familiar brand names. Americans have no appetite for European protectionist policies."
“America’s meat and other food manufacturers work hard to develop a product and brand that resonates with their customers,” Senator Portman said. “If the EU succeeds in establishing trade guidelines that would restrict branding, it will take a bite out of U.S. exports and hurt jobs here in Ohio. I urge the Administration to continue working aggressively to ensure the EU doesn’t impede U.S. businesses' ability to compete domestically or internationally.”
Roberts and Baldwin sent a bipartisan letter, signed by 43 other Senators to the U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack urging them to continue to resist efforts by the EU to use geographical indication restrictions to impair U.S. meat domestic sales and exports.