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Hard cheese! Trade deal between Europe and Canada under threat because of row over halloumi 

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A trade deal between Europe and Canada was last night under threat because of a row over halloumi cheese.

Cyprus, which invented the chewy cheese, has voted to block the deal until it is guaranteed protection from products imitating genuine halloumi.

The island, which is split between Greek and Turkish sectors, wants the semi-hard cheese to get the same protected status as champagne and Parma ham.

Cyprus, which invented the chewy cheese, has voted to block the deal until it is guaranteed protection from products imitating genuine halloumi (pictured, file image)

Cyprus, which invented the chewy cheese, has voted to block the deal until it is guaranteed protection from products imitating genuine halloumi (pictured, file image)

The island, which is split between Greek and Turkish sectors, wants the semi-hard cheese to get the same protected status as champagne and Parma ham. Pictured, a Champagne advert at the entrance to the village in Avize

The island, which is split between Greek and Turkish sectors, wants the semi-hard cheese to get the same protected status as champagne and Parma ham. Pictured, a Champagne advert at the entrance to the village in Avize

It has become the first country to reject the EU-Canada agreement which has provisionally been in force since 2017. All EU states must back the deal for it to be ratified.

The cheese is a mixture of goat and sheep milk matured in brine. It is commonly used as a substitute for meat.

Cyprus is adamant the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement should protect its version from rivals and close the Canadian market to halloumi produced by the US and Britain. 

Such a move would bring a financial boost to the island. 

A spokesman for Cyprus’s Movement for Social Democracy, which voted against the deal, said it wanted protection ‘as soon as possible’.

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