Known as Geographic Indications (GI), the products within the agreement come under special protections from imitations and usurpation in order to preserve reputational links. Examples of European GI’s are wines, cheeses and whiskey whose place of origin makes up a significant portion of the value. Same for Chinese GI’s such as tea, ginger and spices.
According to a statement published Wednesday by the Council, the "landmark agreement" puts 100 products from either side under GI protection, a significant expansion from the 10 products signed into GI protection in 2012.
A joint statement by Commissioner Hogan and Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan hailed the accord as the most significant trade agreement between two sides, and a crucial step in preserving food heritage and contributing to rural economies amid an expanding Chinese middle class with an appetite for quality products.
"This agreement shows our commitment to working closely with our global trading partners such as China. It is a win for both parties, strengthening our trading relationship, benefiting our agricultural and food sectors, and consumers on both sides," Phil Hogan, Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner, said in the statement.
The agreement comes on the back of a turbulent trade relationship which both sides have been experiencing with their largest international partner, the United States.
US President Donald Trump has been engaged in a trade war with China for over a year, hiking tariffs on goods in response to what he deemed unfair trading conditions. Trump also increased tariffs on EU goods (such as above mentioned wines, cheeses and whiskey) as part of a drawn-out dispute with the EU over the perceived unfair competition in aeroplane manufacturing.