A post-Brexit deal between the UK and Japan might be on hold — all because of wheeling and dealing around blue cheese.
One negotiator is holding up the talks to win better terms for the famous British Stilton.
Talk about a wedge issue
Holding up a trade deal over some fancy fromage might sound holier-than-thou. But the stalemate highlights just how much cheese exports have matured.
They’re worth ~$70B, and they’ve grown 3% a year since 2010.
They’re especially important for small European countries. People are so gaga for gouda that cheese exports are worth $4.2B to the Netherlands.
Big Cheese keeps grating deal-makers’ nerves
An EU-Canada pact might curdle because Cyprus wants extra protections for its signature halloumi.
Last year, Italy’s Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Consortium — a very real group of cheese bigwigs — claimed that US tariffs would shred ~50k jobs.
Now China is getting cheesy
It’s buying up artisanal cultures like nobody’s business.
Between 2013 and 2018, British cheese exports to China jumped from £67k to £6.5 million.
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