On 6 November 2019, the EU and China concluded the negotiations on a bilateral agreement to protect 100 European geographical indications (GI) in China and 100 Chinese GI in the EU against imitations and usurpation. The agreement is expected to result in reciprocal trade benefits and demand for high-quality products on both sides.

Selection of GI

The selection of GI is the result of long cooperation between the EU and China and several years of negotiation. The EU list of GI to be protected in China includes products such as Champagne, Cava, Feta, Porto, Roquefort, Münchener Bier, Ouzo Prosciutto di Parma, Gorgonzola, and Scotch Whisky. The Chinese list includes products such as Anji Bai Cha (Anji White Tea), Pixian Dou Ban (Pixian Bean Paste), Panjin Da Mi (Panjin Rice), Anqiu Da Jiang (Anqiu Ginger), and Jinghe Gou Qi (Jinghe Goji Berry).

In the EU, there are more than 3,300 names of products registered as GI. These names are legally protected against imitation and misuse within the EU and in non-EU countries where a specific protection agreement has been signed. Thus, the vast majority of registered European GI is not covered by the agreement with China. Currently, the only Dutch GI on the EU list of products to be protected in China is 'Jenever'.

Next legal steps

Following the conclusion of the negotiations, the agreement will now go through legal scrutiny. On the EU side, the European Parliament and the Council will have to give their approval. The agreement is expected to enter into force before the end of 2020.

Dutch associations, pay attention!

Four years after its entry into force, the scope of the agreement will expand to cover an additional 175 GI names from both sides. These names will have to follow the same registration procedure (i.e. assessment and publication for comments) as the 100 names already covered by the agreement.

The proclaimed expansion in the near future of the selection of GI means a renewed opportunity for Dutch associations to apply for protection in China under the agreement. 'Gouda Holland', 'Edam Holland', 'Westlandse druif',' Hollandse geitenkaas', ... China, here we come!

Do you have questions about (the registration of) GI? Do not hesitate to contact us. The Loyens & Loeff Food & Beverages team has extensive experience in this field and we would be pleased to advise and assist you.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.