When one imagines the world's two largest bureaucracies - the European Union and the US - trying to coordinate what may be the world's most sophisticated free-trade agreement, one would expect things like genetically modified crops, chlorine-washed chicken, and beef quotas to be key sticking points. One would not expect Greek Feta cheese to be among the main hurdles. Which is precisely what it is, because as Kathimerini reports "a fight over who can call Greek-style cheese “feta” is blocking the way toward the world’s largest free-trade deal. Of course, in a world in which something as "consequential" as who gets to call Feta by its name will require days if not weeks of negotiations, one wonders why bother with trade when central planners can just print commerce and wealth all day long anyway.
From the Greek media outlet:
US and European Union negotiators will determine a list of sticking points this week in Washington during their third round of talks, and food issues are expected to be chief among them.
At a time of low economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic, EU-US free-trade negotiations seek to integrate two markets representing almost half the world’s economy in a sophisticated agreement going far beyond lowering tariffs.
But food is different and the old issues that have bedeviled many trade talks around the world are likely to complicate the ambitious Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between Brussels and Washington.
The EU is determined to write into any deal its system of geographical indications, which protects countries’ or regions’ exclusive right to product names, such as France’s champagne, Greek feta cheese or Italian Parma ham.
US groups say this demand “defies credibility” because in the cause of free trade, US producers would, for example, no longer be able to market cheeses as “feta.”
Sadly, every day we are witness to far more insane things in this centrally-planned world. As for the "Free-trade agreement" between the US and Europe, we can't wait for the two biggest economies to pass it only to find out what's in it.