The US wine association's definition of "Château" differs from the EU's. So if the European Commission plans to allow "Château" labels to be used on American wines sold in the EU, then they must meet EU quality standards, said MEPs in a debate with Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta on Wednesday.
MEPs worry that granting a US request to allow American wines to be labelled "Château" or "Clos" on the EU market might allow them to take advantage of the centuries-old fame of European wines or distort competition.
In the EU, the term "Chateau" means that the wine was made from grapes grown in a single vineyard. In the US, the term may be used generically, as a marketing label.
France has opposed the US request, which was made in 2010.
In the debate, MEPs cited imitations of quality-certified European products worldwide and stressed that if EU traditional designations are authorized for use on imported products, the Commission must guarantee that same quality standards and rules apply.
Mr Semeta reassured MEPs that the Commission is aware of the sensitivity and political consequences of the decision and is still evaluating the request.