The EU wants only cheese from Parma to be called parmesan, the feta name to be reserved for cheese from Greece, and many other regional European names that are common on Australian-made food and drink, to be restricted,
Australian Dairy Farmers president Rick Gladigau said Australia must protect its products with European names.
‘People migrated here from Europe (and) brought their expertise in making feta and other cheese varieties,’ he told the Weekly Times.
‘They should be able to put those names on the label to reflect the skill that goes into making the product.’
With Australia hoping to sign an agreement by May, it will almost certainly have to make major concessions to the EU’s huge car industry, mostly headquartered in Germany, Italy and France, but with plants across the continent.
On the table is also the abolition of Australia’s $880m-a-year luxury car tax (LCT) has become a key block to a potential trade deal with the European Union (EU), while the right for Australian producers to call cheese ‘feta’ and ‘parmesan’ is also up for negotiation.
The LCT introduced 22 years ago by then prime minister John Howard to protect local manufacturers when Australia still produced cars in large numbers.
But with the Australian car industry gone, the LCT remains on the books solely as a Government revenue-raising measure. The luxury car tax is worth $880m to Australia, but the EU wants it abolished. Also, Australia’s car market is worth $ 20bn a year, and the EU wants a bigger slice
The EU would, in return, allow more access to its markets for Australian farmers, though any improvements are likely to be gradual.
But protections for around 400 European products named for specific places – such as parmesan cheese from Parma and Prosecco sparkling wine, named after an Italian village – are also on the table.