The EU-China Geographic Indications Agreement: What You Need to Know
In September 2020, the European Union and China reached a historic agreement on the protection of geographical indications (GI), paving the way for increased trade and recognition of high-quality European and Chinese products. This agreement is the largest of its kind ever concluded by the EU, covering 100 European GIs and 100 Chinese GIs, including famous products like Champagne, Feta, and Pu’er tea.
What are Geographical Indications?
Geographical indications are signs used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. These qualities, reputation, or characteristics are linked to the place of origin and create a strong connection between the product and its geographical environment. Geographical indications are used to protect the intellectual property rights of local producers and ensure that consumers can trust the authenticity and quality of products they buy.
The Importance of the EU-China GI Agreement
The EU-China GI agreement is a significant step forward in promoting mutual recognition and protection of high-quality products from both regions. The agreement will foster closer economic ties and improve market access for EU and Chinese producers, while at the same time benefitting consumers who can enjoy genuine and authentic products.
For European producers, the agreement means that they can better protect their GIs from unauthorized use in China, one of the world’s largest markets for EU products. For Chinese producers, the agreement means that they can export their GIs to the EU under specific conditions, such as respecting EU regulations and labeling requirements, and vice versa.
The EU-China GI agreement is not only important for trade and market access, but also for cultural relations and mutual understanding. By protecting GIs, the agreement recognizes and highlights the unique cultural heritage, history, and traditions of local communities. It also encourages sustainable agriculture, food diversity, and rural development.
What’s Next for the EU-China GI Agreement?
The EU-China GI agreement is a major achievement in the ongoing efforts to strengthen the economic and political ties between the EU and China. The agreement is expected to enter into force in 2021, subject to the completion of domestic procedures on both sides.
The agreement will create a favorable environment for EU and Chinese producers to trade in high-quality products and will enhance consumer confidence in the authenticity and quality of these products. With the EU-China GI agreement, the future looks bright for producers and consumers on both sides of the globe.