Geographical Indications (GI) between China and the EU represent a major boost for the agri-food sector

December 20, 2023

In this look back at SIAL Talks, the focus is on the China-EU Agreement on Cooperation and Protection of Geographical Indications. This is China’s first comprehensive and high-level agreement on Geographical Indications (GI) negotiated and signed with a foreign party covering hundreds of GI products from each side.

The China-EU Agreement on Cooperation and Protection of Geographical Indications signed in 2021 is considered a landmark achievement signaling the deep cooperation existing between China and the EU. During the last edition of the SIAL in late 2022, SIAL Talks looked at the benefits that this partnership generates.

During the talk, Herve Novelli, a former Secretary of State for Trade, Craft Trades, SMEs, Tourism, Services and Consumer Affairs, indicated that the agreement was very important as GIs represent a guarantee of the quality and the expertise of people on a set territory or country. For consumers, it is a sign they can trust these products.

France plays an important role in this agreement as it has the most extensive cooperation in the field of geographical indications and benefits of the best protection of its products in China. For example, LVMH has been actively involved in GI product development in Yunnan province.

From its entry in force in October 2022, the Agreement has generated mutual protection of a total of 244 GIs from both China and the EU. At the end of last year, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) received applications of another 175 EU products for Geographical Indication protection in China. They have been recently mutually recognised by both partners in 2023.

Guizhou Green Tea, Shu Embroidery, Sanya Melon from China, Bulgarsko Rozovo Maslo, Nürnberger Bratwürste, Elia Kalamatas from Europe…a bonanza of Chinese and EU GI products on the mutual recognition and mutual protection list of the Agreement have further boosted the development of bilateral trade of Geographical Indications products.

Geographical Indications (GI) between China and the EU represent a major boost for the agri-food sector
Pu’er Tea from Yunnan (Photo:

In a current climate of geo-political uncertainties, the agreement helped consolidate the economic and trade foundation of China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. Thanks to the agreement, GI products have effectively seen a pickup in bilateral trade, particularly EU exports to China. It has also helped premium Chinese products expand into international markets and sell for higher prices, according to a study conducted by the China-Europe Association for Technical & Economic Cooperation (CEATEC)

The agreement is also encouraging income to less-favoured rural areas. Both China and Europe face the challenge of revitalising these parts of their territories. Farming generates low income and has difficulty retaining young people. GIs are a way for both partners to cooperate by looking at how to integrate technology and digital applications in rural activities. At SIAL Talks, the Chinese province of Yunnan was taken as an example to showcase how it had succeeded in protecting its “Green Food” initiatives. Experts at SIAL Talks also mentioned how GIs have a catalyst effect on tourism -particularly on gastronomy and oenology tourism.

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