Greece wants changes to EU-Canada trade deal to protect “feta” name, or it won’t sign deal

Pensioners wait outside the National Bank of Greece to get their monthly pensions on April 29, 2015. Greece has been trying to negotiate a deal that would unlock €7.2bn ($7.8bn) in remaining EU-International Monetary Fund bailout money that the debt-ridden Mediterranean country needs to avoid default and a possible exit from the euro. Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP

BRUSSELS, May 5 (Reuters) – Athens will not back a multi-billion dollar trade pact between Canada and the European Union unless the deal is changed to specify that only Greece can use the term “feta” for its salty white cheese, according to a document seen by Reuters.

After five years of difficult negotiations, Canada and the European Union agreed a free-trade accord last year, but unexpected wrangling over aspects of the final text have intensified in recent months and could delay its ratification.

Greece will tell EU trade ministers in Brussels on Thursday that the agreed text does not protect Greek feta in Canada because, under the terms of the pact, Canadian companies using the ‘feta’ name before October 2013 can continue to do so.

“We have informed the European Commission about the numerous usurpers of our famous feta cheese in the Canadian market,” Greek diplomats wrote in a note prepared for Thursday’s meeting. They added that “it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible for us, to endorse” a EU-Canada trade accord…