Posted: 01/11/2020

Ministers urged to commit to post-Brexit PDO agreement

Ministers urged to commit to post-Brexit PDO agreement
Stilton is one British product that could be affected by a change in the UK-EU PDO agreement

A key food industry figure has urged ministers to commit to post-Brexit recognition of EU PDO food names as the UK’s full withdrawal looms ever nearer.

Legislation was last month laid out in Parliament setting out new rules and logos to protect British food and drink Geographical Indications (GI), and those of non-UK GIs agreed through trade agreements.

As the industry awaits the results of trade talks with the EU, many will be anxious to hear if a reciprocal agreement has been struck.

Chair of the UK Protected Food Names Association Matthew O’Callaghan insisted that such an agreement would benefit domestic producers.

The issue of speciality food and drink has reportedly become a significant strand of increasingly fraught negotiations over the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU.

O’Callaghan said it was in the best interests of UK food producers and exporters to keep their European equivalents happy with trade terms.

He said that while legislation had been passed to extend EU speciality food protection legislation into UK law for UK products, European goods such as Champagne, Seville Oranges and Parma Ham could be forced to rely on the more cumbersome trademark process to prevent British manufacturers using their monikers.

“The withdrawal agreement Boris Johnson signed last year included a reciprocal agreement on this,” O’Callaghan said. 

“But if there is no deal and we don’t agree to protect the EU’s protected food names then Continental producers may put pressure on the EU to stop protecting ours. Fair is fair.

“I would like to see a reciprocal deal between the EU and the UK in any trade deal or withdrawal agreement. 

“Protected food and drink makes up 25 per cent of all UK food and drink exports.”

Read the latest edition of Fine Food Digest here.

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