China, EU agri-food trade receives boost from GI agreement
The agreement between China and the European Union (EU) on the protection of geographical indications (GIs), which formally entered into force on March 1 this year, is bringing new opportunities for both sides to improve the level and quality of agricultural trade while boosting confidence in each other's markets.
GIs aim at protecting the names of specific products to promote their unique characteristics linked to their geographical origin as well as traditional know-how.
Since the signing of the agreement on Sept. 14, 2020, agri-foods like Gannan navel oranges, Qianjiang crayfish, Wuchang Rice, Champagne of France and Munich beer have become increasingly popular in Chinese and European markets.
Over the year, the Chinese Mission to the EU and the European Commission have jointly held online exchange meetings on the promotion of GI products, inviting the competent authorities, local officials and experts from both sides for in-depth discussions.
The agreement recognizes over 500 GIs in China and Europe. It protects around 200 iconic European and Chinese agri-food names, 100 for each side.
It is the first large-scale mutual recognition of GIs between China and Europe. Over the next four years, the agreement will expand to cover an additional 350 GIs from both sides.
Zhang Ming, head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, said that this agreement provides comprehensive and effective protection as well as promotion for the high-quality GI products of both sides to enter each other's markets.
The GIs at issue are mainly agricultural products. China and the EU have both entered a new era of agricultural and rural development, and sustainability is a goal they share, he said.
According to him, the past year has witnessed rapid growth in the volume of bilateral trade in agricultural products despite the pandemic, which is estimated to exceed 30 billion U.S. dollars, up over 16 percent year on year.
Today, China is the EU's largest trading partner and the second destination for EU exports of GI products.
For the European food and drinks industry, China is an export market with high growth potential. According to statistics, the EU's annual exports of GI products exceed 20 billion dollars, accounting for more than 15 percent of all EU food and drinks exports.