EU AND CHINA TO SIGN FIRST SIGNIFICANT TRADE AGREEMENT TO PROTECT GI PRODUCTS INCLUDING WINES
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Credit: Guillaume Périgois/Unsplash
The European Council yesterday adopted decisions on signing the agreement between the European Union and China on geographical indications (GIs). This is the first significant bilateral trade agreement signed between the EU and China.
It will ensure that 100 EU agri-food GIs such as Languedoc wine, Polska Wódka, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana or Elia Kalamatas get protection in the Chinese market.
Likewise, 100 Chinese products will be protected in the EU, thereby ensuring mutual respect of the best of both agricultural traditions.
Among the list of protected Chinese products are Pixian Dou Ban (Pixian Bean Paste), Anji Bai Cha (Anji White Tea), Panjin Da Mi (Panjin rice) and Anqiu Da Jiang (Anqiu Ginger).
The date and place for the signing has not been set yet. Once signed, the agreement will then need to receive the consent of the European Parliament before it can be concluded and enter into force.
It is stated in the terms that four years after its entry into force, the scope of the agreement will expand to cover an additional 175 GI names from both sides. The agreement also includes a mechanism to add more GIs thereafter.
A GI is a distinctive sign used on products that have a specific geographic origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
The EU-China agreement will therefore provide an important protection of the products' intellectual property rights: it will safeguard against translation, transcription or transliteration, and against the use of the protected geographical indications accompanied by expressions such as "kind", "type", "style", "imitation" or the like in respect of a non-originating product.
The European Council said in a press release that GIs have also proven to be a useful marketing tool, helping to ensure higher and more stable export revenues for producers. It said a GI product sells on average for more than twice the price of a similar non-geographical indication product.
It also said China is a high-growth potential market for European food and drinks. This agreement will therefore benefit European producers and should be a boost to rural areas where these products are made.
EU and China started negotiating GI protection in September 2010, the two sides initially sealed the agreement when French President Emmanuel Macron visited China last November.
(the writer can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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