The European Union and China signed on Monday 14 September bilateral agreement to protect 100 European geographic names in China and 100 Chinese geographic names in the EU from theft and imitation.
According to the European Commission, this agreement should bring mutual trade benefits, as well as introduce consumers to guaranteed quality products from both sides.
“Products with European Geographical Indications are known for their quality and variety, so it is important to protect them at EU level and globally to guarantee their authenticity and preserve their reputation,” said Janusz Wojciechowski, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development.
The Chinese market has high growth potential for European food and beverage products. In 2019, China became the third destination for EU agri-food products, reaching € 14.5 billion. It is also the EU's second destination for exports of GI products, accounting for 9% in value terms, including wines, agri-food products and spirits. In addition, through this agreement, European consumers will be able to discover authentic Chinese delicacies.
The list of EU geographic names to be protected in China includes iconic products such as cava, champagne, feta, Irish whiskey, Münchener Bier, Ouzo, Polska Wódka, Porto, Prosciutto di Parma and Queso Manchego. Among Chinese foods, the list includes, for example, Pixian Dou Ban (Pixian Bean Paste), Anji Bai Cha (Anji White Tea), Panjin Da Mi (Panjin Rice), and Anqiu Da Jiang (Anqiu Ginger).
Once signed and ratified by the European Parliament, it will be formally adopted by the European Council. The agreement is expected to enter into force in early 2021.
Within four years of its entry into force, the scope of the agreement will be expanded to cover an additional 175 geographic names on both sides. These names must go through the same approval process as the 100 names already covered by the agreement (i.e. rating and posting for comments).
In value terms, the EU geographical names market is around 74.8 billion euros, or 6.8% of the EU food and beverage, and exports of 16.9 billion euros represent 15.4% of total food and beverage exports EU.
Cooperation between the EU and China on this issue began in 2006 and resulted in the protection of 10 geographic names on both sides in 2012.