Costa Leads Effort to Protect Access to Overseas Markets for American Food Producers

Nov 2, 2020
Press Release

(FRESNO, CA) - In an effort to ensure American farmers and food producers continue to have access to fair trade rules and the movement of products overseas, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) led 111 of his colleagues in a bipartisan letter calling on the Administration to make protecting common food and wine terms a priority in future trade discussions:

"American farmers and food producers are hurting like never before and we must take steps to protect access to key markets,” Costa said. “By requiring protections for common food and wine terms in any trade negotiations, we can ensure they continue to have reliable and fair access to overseas markets, which are critical to their economic health."

The letter underscores concerns the European Union misuses protections meant for Geographic Indicators (GI) -- used  to describe specialized products from specific regions, such as bologna, parmesan, chateau and feta -- to enact unjustified trade barriers to block American exports, and advocates for a consistent trade policy that prioritizes specific market access assurances for these products in all trade-related discussions.

“For too long, Europe has raised unfair trade barriers that harm America’s farmers, food manufacturers and exporters,” said Jaime Castaneda, the Senior Vice President of Trade Policy for National Milk Producers Federation & the U.S. Dairy Export Council. “Europe has zero justification for blocking exports labeled with common terms, such as California wines labeled with chateau or American-made parmesan cheeses. I commend Representative Costa’s leadership for standing up and saying that too much is at stake for American agriculture and this can no longer be tolerated. This bipartisan letter makes it clear that the U.S. government must act now to secure greater protections for food and wine exports labeled with common names.”  

“As a 3rd generation California dairy farmer, I applaud Congressman Costa and his colleagues for urging the U.S. government to prioritize protecting common name exports,” said Joey Fernandez, Central Valley Dairy Farmer. "My farm is committed to producing high-quality milk that is then processed into incredible American-made cheese products. Europe cannot be allowed to ban common cheese terms simply because they do not want to compete with our products." 

Representatives Jodey Arrington, Angie Craig, Dusty Johnson, Ron Kind, Mike Gallagher, Jimmy Panetta, and Mike Kelly joined Congressman Costa in leading the letter. 

The additional 103 signatories include Representatives James P. McGovern, Roger Marshall, M.D., TJ Cox, Brian Fitzpatrick, Anthony Brindisi, Troy Balderson, Jared Huffman, Marcia L. Fudge, Bryan Steil, Peter Welch, Chellie Pingree, Emanuel Cleaver, II, Jahana Hayes, Suzan Delbene, Fred Keller, Collin C. Peterson, Josh Harder, Cheri Bustos, David Rouzer, Ed Perlmutter, Chris Jacobs, Mark Pocan, Kurt Schrader, John Katko, Rick Larsen, Anthony Gonzalez, Joseph D. Morelle, Dan Newhouse, Ann McLane Kuster, Greg Steube, Jim Hagedorn, James R. Baird, Dan Meuser, Adrian Smith, Mike Bost, Bruce Westerman, Elise M. Stefanik, Glenn Grothman, Scott Perry, Don Bacon, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Jackie Walorski, Vicky Hartzler, Jim Banks, Jack Bergman, Greg Pence, Betty McCollum, Xochitl Torres Small, Antonio Delgado, Salud O. Carbajal, Rick Crawford, Tom Reed, Kelly Armstrong, Paul Tonko, Neal P. Dunn, M.D., Tom O’Halleran, French Hill, Joe Courtney, Brian Higgins, Chris Pappas, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Ralph Abraham, M.D., Larry Bucshon, M.D., Steve Watkins, Steve King, Sean Patrick Maloney, Mike Thompson, Trey Hollingsworth, Doug LaMalfa, Tom Tiffany, Austin Scott, Doris Matsui, Pete Stauber, Abby Finkenauer, Steve Stivers, Ann Wagner, Tim Walberg, Deb Haaland, Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, J. Luis Correa, Bob Gibbs, John Garamendi, Greg Walden, John Shimkus, Abigail D. Spanberger Jeff Fortenberry, David N. Cicilline, Ken Buck, Greg Stanton, Judy Chu, John Rose, Tom Emmer, Daniel T. Kildee, Ro Khanna, Steve Womack, Lloyd Smucker, John Joyce, M.D., Lori Trahan, Julia Brownley, Devin Nunes, Cindy Axne, Ami Bera, M.D., and Sharice L. Davids.