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Farmers meet with EU Ag Commissioner, warn GIs are a no-go
13 February 2019
The National Farmers' Federation led a meeting between Australian farm representatives and European Union Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan in Canberra today.
The meeting included delegates spanning the red meat, grain, dairy, pork, wool, wine, sugar and horticulture sectors.
Commissioner Hogan was in Canberra as part of a five-day multi-city visit to Australia.
NFF President Fiona Simson said the meeting was a great opportunity to outline Australian agriculture's aspirations for an EU-FTA.
"Australia and Europe have much in common – we boast proud food and fibre sectors producing in clean, green natural environments.
"Our citizens are mutually discerning about the food they eat and how it is grown.
"They care a great deal about food safety, nutrition, animal welfare and environmental sustainability."
Ms Simson said Australia and the EU already enjoyed a wide-ranging, highly valuable trade relationship and the on-foot negotiations represented the opportunity to refresh and widen the benefits of this relationship.
A key point of discussion in the meeting was in regard to geographic indications.
"From Australian agriculture's point of view it is critically important that GIs are left out of an EU-Australia FTA.
"We made our concerns about GIs known to the Commissioner," Ms Simson said.
"Any restraint on the use of terms such as 'fetta', 'mozzarella' or 'prosecco' would have dire ramifications for our dairy farmers and winemakers in particular.
"As with all trade agreements there will be give and take. The important thing is to stand firm on the issues which are non-negotiable, and from our point of view that is GIs."
"We thanked Commissioner Hogan for his time today and look forward to working with him into the future as this, what promises to be, a landmark trade agreement progresses," Ms Simson said.
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