Overseas Comments: Why is China-EU Geographical Indications Agreement a Milestone
2020-08-27 IP News

Recently, the EU Council’s decision on the empowerment of officially signing China-EU Geographical Indications Agreement (hereinafter referred to as “the Agreement”) has called much attention. The Agreement, which has taken 8 years for the negotiation, is the first overall and high-level bilateral agreement on geographical indications, also the first major trade agreement between China and EU in recent years. It is of the landmark significance for deepening the economic and trade cooperation between China and EU.

According to the announcement released by EU Council, the Agreement will guarantee 100 geographical indications from the central Europe are protected in each other’s markets, further, to ensure to mutually respect other side’s good agricultural tradition. The scope of the Agreement will be enlarged after four-year of the validity, at that time, each 275 geographical indications of two parties will be covered, i.e. Chinese “安吉白茶”(An Ji White Tea in Chinese characters), “赣南脐橙”(Gan Nan Ji Cheng in Chinese characters), “贺兰山东麓葡萄酒”(East Helan Mountain Area Wine in Chinese), European “Prosciutto di Parma”, “Irish Whiskey”.

Mr. Cui Hongjian, the Director of the Institute of European Studies, China Institute of International Studies, pointed out that the agreement will soon to be practically implemented upon the signing, which will facilitate to reach demands of China and EU for high-quality products, further to bring practical benefits to the public. At a deeper level, the signing of the Agreement has release three signals to the world.

The signing of the Agreement is a powerful drive to promote the development of China-EU economic and trade relationship at a high-level. This has been directly reflected that, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, China-EU economic and trade cooperation has continued to advance rather than stagnating. The Agreement will provide strong guarantee for both parties’ relevant products access to the other party’s market, also for promotion of popularity, further, make it more conducive to obtain recognition among customers of the other party’s market. Moreover, the geographical indication has been proved to pose obvious economic benefits to manufactures, that is to get higher and more stable export revenue. As per a study released by European Commission, the average price of goods with protected name is twice as much as uncertified similar goods, that is, goods under the protection will enjoy higher sale premium. For example, the premium rate of the wine is 2.85, the premium rate of the spirit is 2.52, and the premium rate of the agricultural products and food is 1.5.

The signing of the Agreement shows that China and EU have made positive progress in intellectual property rights. Also, the geographical indication known as the original mark, is a major mark to indicate the origin of goods, pertains to one kinds of intellectual property right, its specific quality and reputation mainly determined by locally natural or humanity factors. The Agreement will facilitate to protect the intellectual property rights of China and EU products, especially to make strong protection on geographic and humanity values. Meanwhile, it fully demonstrates China’s steadfast determination to promote the opening-up on a higher level and to strengthen the protection on the intellectual property right.

Also, the signing of the Agreement will promote the recognition of geographical indications throughout the world. Mr. CUI Hongjian said, previously, the US and Europe have run into big obstacles in the negotiation over geographical indications, US also interfered the negotiation on the agreement between China and EU, however, China and EU reached the agreement, this shows that China-EU cooperation has the ability to be undisturbed by any third party. Based on experience arose from the negotiation over the Agreement, it will offer beneficial reference and confidences for China and EU to promote WTO reformation and negotiation over bilateral investing agreement.

As two major civilization and power in the world, EU and China play a vital role in maintaining world multipolarizaiton, upholding multilateralism and defending free trade. The implementation of the Agreement on geographical indications will become a new highlight of two sides’ practical cooperation, also will achieve mutual benefit and win-win results while promoting the world’s economic recovery and adding more certainty to the uncertain world.

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