Recent Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a longtime member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) today led a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers in introducing the Safeguarding American Value-Added Exports (SAVE) Act, legislation to protect American food products from unfair trade practices by foreign countries.

“By exploiting valid geographical indication protections, global competitors have for decades tried to limit competition, block imports, and restrict American-made products from being able to use common food and beverage names,” said Thune. “I’m proud to lead this effort in the Senate to help level the playing field for U.S. producers by ensuring they can use common food names and preserve and expand foreign market access for their products.”  

“Requiring U.S. producers to change the names of their food is confusing for consumers and costly to producers and manufacturers,” said Johnson. “The SAVE Act ensures American producers retain vital access to foreign markets in a time that may be more critical than ever.”

“South Dakota Dairy Producers applauds Senator Thune and Representative Johnson for bringing forward the Safeguarding American Value-Added Exports (SAVE) Act, along with the National Milk Producers Federation for raising the issue to the forefront,” said Marv Post, Chair of the South Dakota Dairy Producers. “Roughly 1 in 6 tankers of U.S. Milk is exported, which shows the importance of fair treatment in a global market. Unfair trade practices imposed by U.S. trading competition has falsely protected common names, especially for cheese varieties, and U.S. dairy farmers are at a competitive disadvantage. This bill takes a big step forward to combat the abuse of common names so that U.S. dairy exports have a level playing field and access to all key international markets.”

“When the right to use common cheese names is stripped by foreign governments, the harm ripples throughout the entire dairy supply chain,” explained Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of National Milk Producers Federation. “The dairy producer community thanks Senators Thune and Baldwin and Representatives Johnson, Costa, Fischbach and Panetta for their introduction of the bipartisan SAVE Act today. This legislation will raise the ambition of the U.S. government to preserve the rights of U.S. dairy producers to continue using cheese names long established as generic. We look forward to continuing to work with USDA, USTR and our allies in American agriculture to ensure that U.S. dairy farmers and cooperatives can compete on a level playing field around the world.”

Common food and drink names such as parmesan, chateau, and bologna are used around the world to describe products to consumers. However, due to geographic indication to European locations, the European Union has begun using economic and political influence to implement unfair trade practices under the guise of protecting geographic indicators. These unfair trade practices have the potential to block United States agricultural products from being sold in international markets.

The SAVE Act would amend the Agriculture Trade Act of 1978 to include and define a list of common names for ag commodities, food products, and terms used in marketing and packaging of products. The bill would also direct the secretary of agriculture and the U.S. trade representative to negotiate with our foreign trading partners to defend the right to use common names for ag commodities in those same foreign markets.

In addition to Thune and Johnson, the SAVE Act is cosponsored by U.S. Reps. Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.), and Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) and U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).