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Free trade agreement blow to dairy farmers

By Country News

The European Union has demanded the restriction of the use of common cheese names across Australia.

Farmers have been urged to fight back against a proposed trade agreement with 28 EU countries.

A number of events will be held across Australia to explain to farmers the effects of the change on their business.

The events will be led by the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria farmers' group and Australian Dairy Farmers. These bodies will be supported by Dairy Australia.

UDV president Paul Mumford said the events would discuss the impacts and response to geographical indicators.

“We’re really cheesed off that the EU is demanding we stop using common product names, such as feta, parmesan, and mozzarella. So we’re urging farmers, manufacturers and even consumers to stay informed and learn how they can help us convince the Federal Government that GIs will be another kick in the guts for the dairy industry,” Mr Mumford said.

Cheese manufacturers could end up paying $70-90 million per year in the early stages of the planned trade in deal re-branding and consumer re-education.

ADF president Terry Richardson said the agreement must be beneficial for both sides as the EU had easy access to the Australian dairy market.“An opportunity exists to remove trade barriers that are currently stifling dairy trade between Australia and the EU, but this deal should free up the trade relationship rather than create technical barriers such as GIs,” Mr Richardson said.The events will be held across the state at:

Warrnambool, at Warrnambool Bowls Club on Monday, September 30 at 7.30pm;

Cobden, at Cobden Football Club on Tuesday, October 1 at 11am;

Tangambalanga, at Tangambalanga Community Hall on Monday, October 7 at 7.30pm;

Kyabram, at Ky Club on Tuesday, October 8 at 11am;

Tinamba, at Tinamba Community Hall on Monday, October 21 at 11am;

Leongatha, at Leongatha RSL on Monday, October 21 at 7.30pm.