The Council 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.
This is the first major bilateral trade agreement signed between the EU and China.
It will ensure that 100 EU agri-food geographical indications, such as Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, Languedoc wine, Polska Wódka or Elia Kalamatas, will be protected on the Chinese market. Similarly, 100 Chinese products will be protected in the EU, ensuring mutual respect for the best of both agricultural traditions.
Four years after its entry into force, the scope of the agreement will be extended to include a further 175 geographical indications on both sides. The agreement also includes a mechanism for adding more geographical indications from that date.
A geographical indication is a distinctive sign used on goods of a specific geographical origin which possess qualities or a reputation due to that origin. Thus, the EU-China Agreement will provide important protection for intellectual and industrial property rights: it will offer a safeguard against translation, transcription or transliteration, as well as against the use of such protected geographical indications accompanied by expressions such as “kind”, “type”, “style”, “imitation” or other similar expressions with respect to a product that is not the original of the geographical indication.
In addition, China is a market with great growth potential for European food and drink. Therefore, this Agreement will be beneficial to European producers and is expected to stimulate the rural areas where such products are produced.
On 10 September 2010, the Council authorised the opening of negotiations for an agreement on geographical indications with China. The date and place for the signing of the Agreement have not yet been fixed. Once signed, the Agreement must be approved by the European Parliament before it can be concluded and enter into force.