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Global Times | 8 November 2019
China, EU reach ’hallmark’ bilateral trade GI agreement: MOFCOM
China and the EU recently signed a geographic indication (GI) agreement, an initiative that identifies product origin, signals a "hallmark" achievement among trade relations and highlights the country’s openness, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said Thursday.
"This is the first comprehensive, high-level bilateral agreement China has ever signed with foreign businesses to protect geographic indication," MOFCOM spokesperson Gao Feng said at a press briefing in Beijing.
"It is a significant hallmark for China-EU economic and trade cooperation," Gao added.
Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan and EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan inked the GI agreement in the Chinese capital to protect 100 Chinese products like Pixian bean paste and Panjin rice, and 100 EU products such as Irish whiskey and feta cheese.
The agreement will ensure high-level protection on products from both sides and effectively stop counterfeit production, allowing consumers to enjoy high-quality food, Gao said.
The agreement comes as China and the US are scrambling to boost their economic and trade ties. The global economy is under a dark cloud inspired by US unilateralism and protectionism. Chinese and EU officials are negotiating for a bilateral investment treaty, which, if adopted, could open their markets for business.
In a move to strengthen ties with China, French President Emmanuel Macron recently visited Shanghai during the second China International Import Expo (CIIE), where he blasted "unilateral action, the use of tariffs as a weapon," a clear reference to US protectionist policies directed at China and the EU.
Macron also made an official visit to Beijing, where the two countries inked $15 billion in business deals.
"We are also willing to work with the European side in safeguarding the rules-based free trade mechanism, building an open world economy, and promoting the advancement of economic globalization," Gao said.