Global tugs of war continue in the trade zone with the the WTO agreeing to demands from the US and Australia to examine Europe's rules on the protection of place and product names.
The two new worlds joined together in August this year to approach the World Trade Organisation, and request a closer look at 'the discriminatory nature of the EC regulation'. Last week the WTO agreed to set up a dispute panel.
Many food and drink products - such as Parma ham, Feta cheese and Cognac - across the EU have Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, which means that they must be made in the location whose name they carry or where they have traditionally been produced.
European Commissioner Franz Fischler, along with European farm ministers, has in previous months - most notably just prior to the Cancun trade talks in September - urged trading partners to recognise the EU's list of protected place and product names. But to no avail.
The US complained that the regulation did not allow the registration of non-EC geographical indications, unless the geographical indication was from a country that offered geographical indication protection that was equivalent to that of the EC.
Australia argued that the EC regime was inconsistent with existing WTO rules prohibiting discriminatory treatment, did not give due protection to trademarks, and was overly complex and prescriptive.
In its defence, the EC told the WTO that its rules were fully compatible with WTO rules.