Feta and Champagne: UK-EU talks get down to the detail – four stories to note in today's media

Thu 18 Jun 2020
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News


Early each morning, the content team at the Institute of Export & International Trade sifts through the national news headlines to find key stories relevant to global trade – so that you don’t have to.

Below are four stories from the national papers and trade press that caught our attention today.

1. Feta and Champagne

The EU has accused the UK of trying to put regional European specialty foods, such as feta cheese and Champagne, back on the negotiating table, the FT reports.

The Withdrawal Agreement (2019) protects 3,000 registered European food names from imitation.

That accord also protects more than 80 British food and drink products, registered while the UK was an EU member state, including Stilton blue cheese and Scotch whisky.

The protections agreed to in the Withdrawal Agreement will apply unless and until they are superseded by a new agreement.  The UK is looking to address these issues again now to provide clarity for what happens when it designates new protected food as an independent state.

2. Subsidy crackdown

Politico report that the EU is looking to “crack down on non-EU governments such as China and the United States when they grant subsidies of more than €200,000 to companies that operate in Europe's single market”.

According to a draft of the White Paper obtained by Politico, a “super authority” could impose “redressive measures”, such as restructuring and fines, to prevent companies receiving these foreign subsidies.

The rules will apply to the UK as a non-EU country.

3. Race to lead WTO: blast from the past candidate emerges

A surprising candidate has emerged for the top role at the WTO. Former Labour government Cabinet minister Peter Mandelson has thrown his hat in, according to Politico, and has called for a rulebook revamp.

When asked about his interest he said, "Yes I am. And let me explain why. I think that the WTO has reached a fork in the road. I think it's on its knees."

He joins an already diverse mix of candidates from all over the world.

4. Digitising international trade

IATA (International Air Transportation Association) has said it will look to “drive” the air cargo industry towards greater digitisation, reports Loadstar.

The association has also warned that business models need to change to incorporate data. However, its head of digital cargo Henk Mulder said airlines had showcased great adaptability during the pandemic, which is a “positive sign” for changes ahead as a ‘new normal’ emerges.

“The focus must shift from documents to data,” he said. “There are good reasons for resistance, but they are not good enough. The tech infrastructure is there, the technology part is ready, and if you move to data you can draw intelligence from that data and automate.”