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The European Parliament gave the green light yesterday evening to an agreement between the EU and the People's Republic of China which protects 100 European food products labelled

with Geographical Indications (GIs) against imitations and misuse of the label in China. In exchange, 100 Chinese products will enjoy the same type of protection in Europe.

“Bayerisches Bier, Greek Feta, Champagne, Gorgonzola, Polska Wódka and more.... the EU is taking concrete action to defend the authenticity and Intellectual Property Rights of our signature products. This agreement is also a clear message towards businesses: don’t be afraid to trade with China. There can be significant economic benefits through a rules-based engagement”, said Iuliu Winkler MEP, Vice-Chairman of Parliament's Trade Committee.

In 2019, China was the third largest destination for European agricultural and food products, worth €14.5 billion. The new agreement with China will help to increase European exports there.

“This is the first ever trade agreement between the European Union and China. We are building up confidence to pave the way towards deeper cooperation. In times of complicated relations with China, we are sending a positive message”, said Christophe Hansen MEP, the EPP Group Spokesman on International Trade.

Alongside the green light for this text, Parliament also adopted a Resolution calling on China to extend positive cooperation to the ongoing negotiations on a bilateral investment agreement and to other sensitive topics such as the respect of human rights, climate protection or industrial subsidies.

“Of course, we are not giving a blank cheque to China. The country has to progress in many areas and fulfil the commitments made during the negotiations. We will monitor the correct and effective implementation of the agreement. Rather than playing the game of ‘naming and shaming', the EPP Group prefers to bind China to rules and create mutually-beneficial conditions for economic growth. This agreement is a perfect starting point for that”, Winkler concluded.

Photo by Jakub Hałun, Wikimedia commons.