Iconic British foods could receive a major boost in US markets.

01-Apr-2016 @ 01:00

Emma McClarkin Emma McClarkin

Emma McClarkin Emma McClarkin

Emma McClarkin Emma McClarkin

Six of Britain's best known foods could be granted special status in the United States after it was announced they are to be included in ongoing trade negotiations.

Following pressure from Conservative MEPs and the UK Government, the European Commission has agreed to seek protection for Scotch beef, Scottish farmed salmon, Welsh beef, Welsh lamb, West Country farmed cheddar and White and Blue Stilton cheeses in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks.

If successful, the move would restrict region-specific branding to goods produced in the country or area named. It would also prohibit the sale of products under titles such as "Scotch-style" beef.

The current US system, and the way it is enforced, means products may be sold in the US using a region's name even if they are not actually produced there. Consequently, European producers lose out.

Conservative International Trade spokesman Emma McClarkin MEP said that if the six products, which already hold EU Geographical Indication (GI) status, were included in the TTIP deal, it would be a significant economic boost to UK producers and good news for US consumers.

"I am delighted that the Commission has listened to our representations," said the East Midlands MEP.

"The United States is a significant market for our food exports but at the moment it is difficult for producers to protect their brands. Even if they are able to afford to register under the US trademark system, it provides much less protection than GI status confers in Europe.

"Securing official recognition within TTIP would provide a wonderful opportunity for our producers to increase sales and enable US consumers looking for world class quality to buy our products safe in the knowledge they are getting the genuine article."

Conservative MEPs will shortly be launching a campaign to persuade more UK food producers to apply for GI status and for protected foods to be included in future EU trade deals.

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