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While the World Trade Organization (WTO) apparently ruled earlier this week that the European Union’s policy of protecting regional food names - such as feta cheese, Parma ham and Champagne – was exclusionary, the EU is differing with the US over interpretation of the WTO ruling.

The US says that the WTO ruling means that the EU has to allow growers of Florida oranges and Idaho potatoes to register them in Europe, as well as allowing US companies to market products that have trademarked names identical to those registered in the EU.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick called the ruling a "big win for American farmers and food processors."

However, Claude Veron-Reville, trade spokeswoman for the EU's executive Commission, disagreed. "Contrary to Mr. Zoellick, we do not see in the conclusions of the panel any questioning of the European system of protection of geographical names," she said at a press conference, noting that no US company had ever requested a registration of a regional food name.

The US position is that American producers never bothered to attempt a registration because of the EU’s policy of not allowing them.
KC's View:
We got a headache just trying to figure this story out; we can only imagine how the WTO feels.

The US and the EU are on two sides of the same ocean, but sometimes it feels like they are on different planets.