China and the EU signed the Green Infrastructure Agreement on Monday that could boost trade in products between the two countries. /Getty Creative The agreement protects the names of 100 European geographical indications in China and 100 Chinese geographical indications in Europe from counterfeiting. “I am proud that this agreement is moving closer to its entry into force and reflects our commitment to work closely with our global trading partners such as China,” said Janusz Wojciechowski, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development. On 14 September 2020, China and the European Union signed a bilateral geographical indications agreement (GIs). The agreement protects 100 European GIs in China and 100 Chinese GIs in the European Union. The agreement is expected to enter into force in early 2021. Within four years of its entry into force, the scope of the agreement will extend to an additional 175 GIs on each side. Geographical indications will co-exist with legitimate previous trademarks, the vast majority of which belong to the rightful owners of Europe. A GI is a distinctive feature for products with a specific geographical origin and with qualities or reputation due to that origin.
The EU-China agreement will therefore offer significant protection of the intellectual property rights of products: it protects against translation, transcription or transliteration and against the use of protected geographical indications that are accompanied by expressions such as `species`, `type`, `style`, `imitation` or any other non-original product. Geographical indications have also proven to be a useful marketing tool that helps to guarantee producers higher and more stable export earnings: according to a study commissioned by the Commission in 2013, a product with a geographical indication sells on average more than double the price of a similar non-geographical indication product. In addition, China is a fast-growing market for food and beverage products in Europe. This agreement will therefore benefit European producers and should give a boost to the rural areas where these products are made.