The Chinese market has strong growth potential for food and beverage products in Europe. In 2019, China was the third target for EU agri-food products, with 14.5 billion euros. It is also the second largest destination for exports of EU products which are protected as geographical indications and account for 9% in value, including wines, agri-food products and spirits. In addition, this agreement will allow European consumers to discover real Chinese specialties. Geographical indications will co-exist with legitimate previous trademarks, the vast majority of which belong to the rightful owners of Europe. Europe is a major global exporter of famous agricultural products, and the stakes of this agreement are important to them if it works. According to the European Observatory for Intellectual Property Rights Violations (PDF, p. 23), the European spirits and wine sector alone is losing 6,049 jobs and 2.4 billion euros ($2.8 billion) in direct sales per year due to counterfeiting. Today, China is the EU`s third largest agricultural and food market and, thanks to a prosperous middle class, is growing rapidly. The Council today adopted decisions on the signing of the agreement between the European Union and the Government of the People`s Republic of China on geographical indications (G.G. The agreement will protect 100 European GIs and as many Chinese GIs in the EU from usurpation and counterfeiting.
But just accepting that a particular product is indicated geographically does not mean that all counterfeits will stop. And the agreement between the EU and China is not yet final. The European Parliament has yet to agree on this point – an institution which, these days, is not really known for its sympathy for China. Nevertheless, the authorities estimate that it will come into force in 2021 and an additional 175 GIs are expected to be added by 2025. Within four years of its entry into force, the scope of the agreement will extend to an additional 175 BILLION on both sides. These names must follow the same approval procedure as the 100 names already covered by the agreement (assessment and publication of notices). Basically, these products are intellectual property – decades of agricultural know-how, a unique climate or careful investments have separated them from any other product like you in the world. Governments often try to protect these products with geographic indications (GIs), which are labels that label products as originating from a given location and possess “qualities or reputation” from that site. On 10 September 2010, the Council approved the opening of negotiations for a PGI agreement with China. The agreement is expected to enter into force in 2021. Four years later, about 175 other GIs from both parties will be included in the agreement.
The European Union and China signed a bilateral agreement on the protection of geographical indications (IG) on Monday, a label used on a product to indicate its origin. “I am proud that this agreement is moving closer to its entry into force and reflects our commitment to work closely with our global trading partners such as China,” said Janusz Wojciechowski, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development. A new research database, GIview, has been created for all protected geographical indications at EU level. This is the first major bilateral trade agreement signed between the EU and China. The date and place of signature of the agreement have not yet been set. Once signed, the agreement must receive the approval of the European Parliament before it can be concluded and it can enter into force. Four years after it came into force, the scope of the agreement will extend to 175 other GI denominations of both parties. The agreement also provides for a mechanism to add more geographical indications.