High-level discussions over the use of the names prosecco, feta, parmesan and others may see Australian companies forced to change their product labels.
European trade officials are still disputing the rights of Australian producers to keep using household food names for cheese and wines as senior government officials work to speed up a $100 billion agreement with the European Union.
In spite of a stand-off, the government has managed to relax an EU proposal that would have forced Australian producers to use names such as ‘feta-like’, ‘parmesan-like’ or ‘prosecco-like’ to meet demands from Greece and Italy that any new trade deal must guarantee exclusive naming rights to certain local products, Fairfax Media reports.
Both sides are expecting to sign off on an agreement before 2021 but the stumbling block in the preliminary negotiations has been Australian producers’ objections to others being allowed to trade off regional specific areas.
A compromise being floated is for locally produced items to use the label ‘Australian prosecco’ instead of ‘prosecco-like’.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham is travelling to Brussels and is said to be pledging to negotiate forcefully over how more than 1500 Australian products are treated in the massive trade deal.