China-EU GI agreement a milestone for bilateral economic, trade cooperation

Updated: August 10, 2020 Source: People’s Daily Online
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The European Council recently adopted a decision to authorize the signing of an agreement between the European Union (EU) and China on geographical indications (GIs).

Workers pick jasmine flowers for a jasmine team at a planting base in Yongtai county, Fuzhou, southeast China’s Fujian province. (Photo courtesy of Fujian Chunlun Group)

It is China’s first comprehensive, high-level bilateral agreement on GIs, and the first major trade agreement between China and the EU in recent years, which marks a significant milestone in the deepening of China-EU economic and trade cooperation.

The agreement will protect each side’s 100 GIs, prevent counterfeiting of GIs, and enable consumers on both sides to buy authentic high-quality products.

Four years after coming into force, the agreement will cover an additional 175 GI names from both sides.

According to the China Chamber of Commerce to the EU, Chinese GIs have the right to use the official certification mark of the EU, which will help them gain recognition among local consumers, facilitating the export of Chinese products to the EU, and promoting bilateral trade of agricultural products and food.

“This is an important opportunity for Chinese agricultural products to boost their brand influence in the world,” said Fu Tianlong, president of the Fujian Chunlun Group, a leading tea company in China, adding that Fuzhou jasmine tea from southeast China’s Fujian province is well received in Europe.

Europe’s recognition of China’s GI products such as Fuzhou jasmine tea will make it easier for Chinese products to enter the European market, Fu noted.

“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,” the European Council said in a statement.

According to Phil Hogan, EU Commissioner for Trade, the agreement will strengthen the EU-China trading relationship, and benefit agricultural and food sectors, and consumers on both sides.

By the end of June, a total of 2,385 geographical indication products were approved in China, 5,682 geographical indication trademarks registered, and 8,811 enterprises with special marks of geographical indication products approved, according to the National Intellectual Property Administration.

Bernard Dewit, chairman of the Belgian-Chinese Economic and Commercial Council, said the number of geographical indications has increased steadily in China, reflecting the Chinese government’s growing emphasis on intellectual property protection.

“The agreement demonstrates China’s wish to promote the construction of an open world economy,” said Ye Bin, a research fellow specializing in EU laws at the Institute of European Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

Ye added that China’s increased economic and trade cooperation with Europe and both sides’ improved mutual intellectual property protection will further promote bilateral trade and send a positive signal of multilateral cooperation.

Editor: 杜俊知