Trade Minister threatens to walk away from EU deal

Trade Minister Don Farrell has said he wants to leave the free trade agreement with the European Union if the EU continues to fight misleading food names.

Senator Farrell will travel to Brussels on Saturday for the next round of talks with the EU.

The EU has long tried to limit the use of food names such as prosecco, feta cheese, parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar to the regions and production areas where they are named.

In marketing terms, these are called ‘geographical indications’.

This means that producers outside of Europe, including Australia, for example, cannot call their feta cheese ‘feta’.

“We’re not interested in that at any cost,” Farrell said Friday at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Committee.

“If the Europeans play hard, they won’t reach an agreement.”

The EU market gives Australian manufacturers access to 450 million people.

“It’s a big, relatively wealthy community, so it’s important to have it,” Senator Farrell said at the event.

He said he hoped to reach a good deal for Australia by the middle of the year.

“We’re interested. It’s good for Australian business if we can do it well, but all of this has to be determined by the national interest,” he said.

Senator Farrell’s comments relate to what he said in a speech at the National Press Club on Thursday, where he urged Australian companies to diversify away from relying solely on China as a destination. out.

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