In this way, they and their counterparts in dozens of countries around the world have done the lion's share of the work building markets for these products, thereby expanding demand for products made in both Europe and in many other nations, CCFN says.
"Producers everywhere – whether in the United States, Costa Rica, Guatemala or Germany – have a right to use names that have been in the public domain," said Errico Auricchio, Chairman of the CCFN.
CCFN Executive Director Jaime Castaneda called the issue "a fast-growing agricultural trade barrier."
"While the letter focuses on cheese, which has been particularly hard hit by the EU's most recent efforts, European GIs encompass many food and beverage categories, meaning many areas of food trade worldwide are potentially threatened by the EU's unfair claims to the exclusive use of common food names and common-place terms such as classic, ruby and chateau," Castaneda said.
For example, Canada agreed as part of its recently concluded FTA with the EU to impose new restrictions on the use of "feta" and other common cheese names. The EU has instigated similar trade barriers throughout Latin America, and is expected to pursue such restrictions in its negotiations with many Asian countries.
According to the U.S. Dairy Export Council, over the past five years, U.S. cheese exports have been growing by an average of 40% annually, leading to a record high of $1.4 billion in U.S. cheese sales abroad last year. Those huge sales led the United States became the largest single country cheese exporter in the world in 2013.