The Financial - 28 October 2020
EU agri-food products to be protected in China against misuse and imitation
European Parliament should back the deal between the EU and China that would protect 200 European and Chinese products, said the Trade Committee on Tuesday.
In a resolution approved by 38 votes, with one vote against and three abstentions, the Trade Committee backed the EU’s agreement with China, signed in September 2020. It will ensure that one hundred European products bearing Geographical Indications (GIs) such as Cava, Feta, Münchener Bier, Polska Wódka, Prosciutto di Parma and Queso Manchego will be protected against imitations and misuse of a product’s name. In exchange, one hundred Chinese products will enjoy the same type of protection in the EU.
Within four years, the agreement will be extended to include a further 175 European and Chinese products.
While trade MEPs welcomed the agreement they see primarily as a confidence-booster, they call on China to extend the constructive cooperation to the ongoing negotiations on a bilateral investment agreement, as well as into areas of conflict such as on industrial subsidies, state-owned enterprises, forced technology transfer, reciprocity in public procurement and overcapacity in steel, aluminium and high-tech.
Rapporteur Iuliu Winkler (EPP, RO), said:
“The EU-China Agreement on the protection of GIs is a positive step forward in the bilateral relationship and a good tool to promote and protect the authenticity of high-quality products on our respective markets. It is primarily a confidence-building exercise, serving as a measurement of the parties’ ambition to ensure the deal is implemented effectively. The trade committee will actively participate in monitoring and scrutinising the agreement’s effective implementation, seeking frequent reporting from the European Commission.”
Parliament is set to vote on its consent to the agreement and the accompanying resolution at its first November session (11-12 November). With Parliament’s consent, the Council has to adopt the agreement so that it can enter into force at the beginning of 2021.
In 2019, China was the third largest destination for EU agri-food products worth €14.5 billion. It is also the second largest destination for EU exports of GI products, accounting for 9% in value, including wines, spirit drinks, and agri-food products. In 2018 and 2019 however, 80% of seizures of counterfeit and pirated goods originated in China, causing €60 billion loss to EU suppliers, says the report.