An agreement between the European Union and China was signed on Monday to preserve geographical indications (GI), reports revealed.
Chinese minister of commerce, Zhong Shan, German envoy to China, Ge Ce, and EU envoy to China Yu Bai signed the agreement, the report said, adding the agreement aims to boost the list up to 175 products from each side in four years.
GIs label product origins and their reputation and qualities, protecting such goods from third parties and their products failing to meet regional standards or imitating them, the World Intellectual Property Organisation notes.
“The EU-China GI agreement is a landmark treaty between the European Union and the People’s Republic of China. It is a concrete example of cooperation between two parties and reflects openness and adherence to international rules as a basis for trade relations,” an EU statement read.
According to the report, cooperation began in 2006 and led to 10 GIs from both sides being added to a list in 2012, with talks concluding in 2019 and the deal set to enter force in 2021.
“I am proud to see this agreement getting one step closer to its entry into force, reflecting our commitment to work closely with our global trading partners such as China,” Janusz Wojciechowski, EU agriculture and rural development commissioner, said in a statement.
The GI agreement would also help to protect authenticity and preserve the reputation of European goods as well as strengthen EU trade with China, he added.
According to EU figures, China was the third-largest destination for EU agricultural goods at 117bn yuan (€14.5bn) and was the second-largest destination for European GI-protected products.
“Cooperation between EU and China in new areas are expanding, such as digitalization and high-end service industries, though European companies were complaining about the Chinese market, such as market access, level playing field, [labour] rights protection, etc.,” Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at Renmin University, said in a statement.
The agreement could also help both sides explore more trade and investment potential between China and Europe and also promotes globalization, he concluded.
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"We strive for a relationship that delivers on our mutual commitments. That generates concrete results for both sides. Results that are also good for the world. In some areas, we are on the right track. In others, more work needs to be done,"
President Michel said at the event.
To date, an agreement on EU-China investment has become central to the EU's relations with China, with the two sides entering talks in 2013 to boost investment for firms from the two economic powers, transparency as well as expediting licensing procedures, among others. Concerns such as the environment, trade and human rights were also discussed.
But pressure from the United States has demanded the EU to implement "action-oriented" dialogue on Beijing, US deputy secretary of state Stephen Biegun said in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee testimony in July
He added the EU and US shared "democratic ideals" and talks should lead to "more coordinated policy outcomes that will advance our shared interests", citing engagement with allies in the G7, G20 and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).