Eu China Gis Agreement

April 9, 2021

On 10 September 2010, the Council approved the opening of negotiations for a PGI agreement with China. This is the first major bilateral trade agreement signed between the EU and China. “With today`s vote, the European Parliament is strengthening the rights of food and beverage producers such as Vino de Rioja, Mozzarella di Bufala, Languedoc wine or Polska vodka in the fast-growing Chinese market. This geographical indications agreement is the first major bilateral trade agreement between the EU and China and is based on mutual respect. We take this as an encouraging sign of China`s willingness to cooperate with Europe and we are moving towards greater reciprocity, non-discrimination and open markets. By its signature, China has opted for the European system of product quality protection based on their origin. The next step is to ensure that the agreement is implemented on the ground and we call on the Commission to closely monitor the process for registering geographical indications. After the signing of the agreement and the approval of the European Parliament, it will be officially adopted by the Council. The agreement is expected to enter into force in early 2021.

The European Commission has just announced that the EU and China have signed a bilateral agreement on the protection of geographical indications against usurpation and counterfeiting. The agreement, first concluded in November 2019 and approved by the Council in July 2020, will protect 100 European gegis in China and 100 Chinese gegis in the EU. “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. 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. A GI is a distinctive feature for products with a specific geographical origin and with qualities or reputation due to that origin.

The EU-China agreement will therefore offer significant protection of the intellectual property rights of products: it protects against translation, transcription or transliteration and against the use of protected geographical indications that are accompanied by expressions such as `species`, `type`, `style`, `imitation` or any other non-original product. The European Parliament today approved the EU-China Agreement on Cooperation and Protection of Geographical Indications (GIs). This will protect 100 European and Chinese geographical indicators and 175 others on both sides after four years.