Could champagne hold up TTIP? Francois Hollande has vowed not to sacrifice protected status as part of the deal

Francesca Washtell
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Champagne's protected status is non-negotiable according to Hollande (Source: Getty)

French wines and cheeses could prove to be a sticking point in the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), according to the French President Francois Hollande.

The president insisted France will not sacrifice any of its geographically protected labels, which include sparkling wine produced in the region of Champagne, as part of the free trade deal being hashed out between Europe and the US.

The protection, called protected status, is granted by the European Union and means that only products made in a specific geographic area can carry the name associated with them.

"There can be no question of sacrificing our interests to get a deal," Hollande said yesterday, describing the protected names as France's "heritage".

"Geographical indications contribute to preserving agricultural quality in our country. They help keep our farming activity on our land."

Read more: Directors make the case for a TTIP trade deal

The French president was speaking at the inauguration of a new wine centre in Bordeaux, reported the Financial Times.

David Cameron recently made his own case, writing in the Gloucester Citizen, that many of the UK's best-loved food and drink products could be under threat of losing protected status if Britain votes to leave the EU in the 23 June referendum.

Elsewhere, the head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker spoke in Paris yesterday to try to sell the free trade deal, which would unify rules and slash tariffs to create a combined market of around 850m people, to a convention of French mayors.

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US President Barack Obama has pressed for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership to be agreed by the end of the year.

A leak of confidential information that claimed to reveal disagreements in negotiations between Europe and the US on the deal were labelled a "storm in a teacup" last month by the EU's trade commissioner.