September 15, 2005

EU, US agree to protect French champagne, other names

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union and the United
States have reached the first phase of an agreement on the wine
trade that will help protect some of the most famous European
names like champagne, chianti, madeira and sherry.

Under the agreement, the use of the names by producers in
the United States -- where they are currently considered
semi-generic -- will be limited, the European Commission said
in a statement on Thursday.

Furthermore, U.S. authorities will exempt EU exports from
new certification requirements among other measures to smooth
trade, the statement said.

The EU and the United States have been at loggerheads over
the wine trade for 20 years.

Top EU trade officials held talks with their U.S.
counterparts in Washington on Wednesday.

The French Wine Exporters Federation welcomed the deal,
saying it would secure the country's wine exports to the United
States which it said were worth 1.6 billion euros.