Australia’s dairy industry will continue to defend its right to call dairy products by their common food names after the Australian Government overnight announced a consultation process on a list of products that the EU wants to protect as geographical indications of origin (GIs) under an Australia-EU free trade agreement.
The Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) is deeply concerned with EU efforts to impose their trade restrictive GI regime on Australia through an FTA.
The ADIC estimates that the EU’s demand to restrict many cheese and dairy product names could put at risk local products with an aggregate sales value of more than $650 million. The potential direct impact on Australian dairy manufacturers from lost sales and increased marketing costs caused by the strict enforcement of GIs could range from a staggering $70-90 million per year in the early stages of the FTA.
The ADIC is also alarmed by the EU’s interest in extending the scope of labelling restrictions to include colours, flags, and even symbols that might evoke EU countries. The EU request even extends as far as to include the use of product names accompanied by the terms “style”, “type” and “like”, and translations of these names.
The production of many cheeses in Australia is a reflection of Australia’s rich migration history. Many of Australia’s cheese manufacturers brought their skills from Europe. They have established successful businesses in Australia, providing significant employment opportunities, particularly in rural and regional Australia.
The ADIC welcomes the opportunity to participate in the Government’s consultation process and looks forward to ongoing engagement on this important issue.
We will engage with the industry to provide input into this process and encourage all consumers, farmers, cheese makers and the broader community to prepare their own submissions to the government.