• France's news in English
UE-EU trade deal
France won't sacrifice famous cheeses and Champagne for US trade deal

France won't sacrifice famous cheeses and Champagne for US trade deal

AFP · 1 Jun 2016, 08:03

Published: 01 Jun 2016 08:03 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

President François Hollande vowed Tuesday to defend French labels such as Champagne or Roquefort cheese in any future
US-European Union trade pact.

Underscoring his reticence to rush into a deal, Hollande said an agreement would have to protect the geographical names that are the source of many of France's best known agricultural exports.

"There can be no question of sacrificing our interests to get a deal. Our labels are our heritage," said the French leader, who has already promised to protect his country's farming sector in any deal.

The European Union and United States are thrashing out plans for a vast free-trade zone, unifying rules and slashing tariffs to create a combinedmarket of 850 million people.

President Barack Obama has pressed for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership to be agreed by the end of the year.

But support for the accord on both sides of the Atlantic appears to be diminishing.

Many activists and professional organisations have lined up against provisions of the pact ranging from food safety to environmental protection, intellectual property rights, the protection of farmers, or the sovereignty of governmental decisions.

One key point in negotiations is the European system of protecting geographically-based product names such as France's Champagne, Roquefort and Camembert or Italy's Gorgonzola cheese.

The United States does not recognise the system, relying instead on trademarks to provide brand protection.

Story continues below…

US Trade Representative Michael Froman, speaking in Stockholm, said he was holding out for a deal that satisfied all parties.

"We in the United States very much value European products, French products, and we want to make sure that they have an opportunity to have access to our markets as we want to have access to European markets," he told a joint news conference with EU trade chief Cecilia Malmstroem.

Malmstroem said the negotiations were difficult, but there was still hope for a deal.

"We think there is still a chance, and we are working in that direction, to do everything we can to achieve this agreement before the end of the year. It is difficult, but it is what we strive for," she said.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Is Marks & Spencer to close Champs-Elysées store?
Photo: AFP

Is it goodbye to crumpets, jam, and English biscuits?

After Calais, France faces growing migrant crisis in Paris
Photo: AFP

While all the focus has been on the closure of the Jungle in Calais, France must deal with the thousands of migrants sleeping rough in Paris. And their numbers are growing.

Restaurant boss suspected of kidnapping Cannes millionaire
The Nice residence of the president of Cannes' Grand Hotel, Jacqueline Veyrac. Photo: AFP

A restaurant owner 'harbouring a grudge', apparently.

Le Thought du Jour
Vive le pont - The best thing about French public holidays
Photo: AFP

The UK might have guaranteed public holidays, but France has "les ponts".

What's on in France: Top things to do in November
Don't miss the chocolate fashion show in Lyon. Photo: Salon du chocolat

The autumn is in full swing in France, and there's plenty to do.

What Paris 'squalor pit' Gare du Nord will look like in future
All photos: Wilmotte et Assoicés

IN PICTURES: The universally accepted 'squalor pit of Europe' is finally getting a facelift.

Halloween: The ten spookiest spots in Paris
Is there really a ghost on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower? Photo: AFP

Read at your own peril.

Halloween holiday in France: Traffic nightmares and sun!
Photo: AFP

But it's great news for the country's beleaguered tourism industry.

French MPs vote to make Airbnb 'professionals' pay tax
Photo: AFP

Do you make a lot of money through Airbnb in France? You'll have to pay a share to the taxman in future.

France and Britain accused of abandoning Calais minors
Photo: AFP

Scores of young migrants are forced to sleep rough for a second night.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
How speaking French can really mess up your English
The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
jobs available