European trade MEPs back GIs agreement with China

BRUSSELS, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) — An agreement between the European Union (EU) and China to protect the signature agri-food products won its first approval in the European Parliament on Tuesday, as the Committee on International Trade of the parliament voted for it with 38 in favor, one against and three abstentions.

The agreement on geographical indications (GIs), signed in September 2020 between the two sides, will ensure that one hundred European products bearing GIs will be protected in the Chinese market. In exchange, one hundred Chinese products will enjoy the same protection in the EU.

Almost 10 percent of the EU agrifood export, worth around 14 billion euros each year, goes to the Chinese market, noted Iuliu Winkler, vice chair of the trade committee and rapporteur for EU-China trade relations. He said he expected European products “will be more trusted and more well known in China, which is a huge market that everybody knows.”

Winkler said he believed that once the first agreement between the two sides is implemented, the practices would be repeated and more investment or trade agreements could be achieved.

According to a parliament press release, the lawmakers are scheduled to vote on their consent to the agreement in November. With parliament’s consent, the Council of the EU has to adopt it so that it can enter into force at the beginning of 2021.

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