First bilateral trade agreement signed between EU and China

The first significant bilateral trade agreement has been signed between the European Union (EU) and China this morning, Monday, July 20.

The European Council has adopted decisions on the signature of the agreement between the EU and the government of China on geographical indications (GIs).

It will “ensure that 100 agri-food GIs get protection on the Chinese market”. Likewise, 100 Chinese products will be protected in the EU.

Four years after its entry into force, the scope of the agreement will expand to cover an additional 175 GI names from both sides. The agreement also includes a mechanism to add more GIs after that period.

‘Important protection of the products’

A GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographic origin and possess qualities that are due to that origin.

According to the European Council, the agreement will “provide an important protection of the products’ intellectual property rights and safeguard against translation, transcription or transliteration”.

The European Council authorised the opening of negotiations on an agreement on GIs with China in 2010.

The date and place for the signature of the agreement has not been set yet. Once signed, the agreement will then need to receive the consent of the European Parliament before it can be concluded and entered into force.

The council expects this agreement will “benefit European producers and should be a boost to rural areas where these products are made”.

In 2019, the EU expanded its market for agri-food products in China. The value of exports grew by €4.2 billion.