Amid trade negotiations among the European Union, Japan and Mexico, American manufacturers and winemakers have urged the United States to exert influence on the issue of geographical indicators. In October 2017, a group of food and beverage producers—including the California Wine Institute—asked the Trump administration to express concerns to Mexico and Japan about limiting the use of common names and terms. While the organizations do not object to the protection of some geographical indicators, such as “Idaho Potatoes” or “Parmigiano Reggiano,” the EU “has been aggressively seeking to confiscate generic terms that derive from part of the protected name or are otherwise in common usage, such as ‘parmesan,’” the letter argued.

In response, a group of U.S. wine growers has urged the Trump administration to encourage Japan and Mexico to allow the protection of wine place names. “While we are fully aware of the controversial nature of place names in the food industry, we hope you understand that the issue is far less controversial in the world of wine,” the letter asserts. “The U.S. government can effectively support increased exports of U.S. wines from U.S. winegrowing regions by allowing for the continued protection of winegrowing place names. That is why we urge you not to intervene with Japan or Mexico to narrow the scope of wine place names protected by their agreements with the European Union.”

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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