To understand the overview of the geographical indications industry in the EU, the criteria for the recognition of geographical indications, the implementation of the mutual recognition agreement and how to jointly promote the economic and trade cooperation in the field of geographical indications. Dot Live Broadcast interview with Damien Plan， Agriculture Counsellor of the EU Delegation to China.
I.China-Europe geographical indication products
Dot Live Broadcast：First of all, can you introduce what is geographical indications?
Damien Plan：The WTO (World Trade Organization) agreement on Intellectual Property (TRIPS) provides an official and international definition of Geographical indications GIs (Geographical indications are indications which identify a good as originating in a territory, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristics of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin).
Shortly and simply, a geographical indication (GI) refers to the name of a product which quality is linked to its geographical origin.
In practice, GI policy and regulations aim at protecting the names of specific products to promote their unique characteristics linked to their geographical origin, as well as traditional know-how.
Geographical indications establish intellectual property rights for specific products, whose qualities are specifically linked to the area of production. The GI system enables consumers to trust and identify specific quality products, while also helping producers to market better their high quality products.
Dot Live Broadcast：What are the types of European GI products in the current EU-CN GI agreement? How are these European GI products selected?
Damien Plan：The EU-China bilateral agreement on geographical indications, which entered into force on 1 March 2021, protects around 200 iconic European and Chinese agri-food names against imitation and usurpation, bringing mutual trade benefits and introducing consumers to guaranteed, authentic products from two regions with a rich culinary and cultural tradition.
更准确地说，自 2021 年 3 月 1 日起，100 个中国地理标志名称已在欧盟受到保护，96 个欧盟地理标志名称已在中国受到保护（96个欧盟地理标志名称，而不是100个，因为4个名称是英国地理标志名称，已经不再是欧盟地理标志）。
More precisely since 1 March 2021, 100 Chinese GI names are protected in the EU and 96 EU GI names are protected in China (96 EU names, rather than 100, because 4 names were UK GIs, which are not anymore EU GIs).
A second batch of 175 EU GIs and 175 Chinese GIs will be protected by March 2025.
欧盟自 2021 年 3 月 1 日起在中国保护的 96 种地理标志产品清单包括一些具有标志性的地理标志产品，例如卡瓦酒、香槟、干邑白兰地、菲达奶酪、爱尔兰威士忌、慕尼黑啤酒、乌佐茴香酒、波兰伏特加、波特酒、帕尔玛火腿和蒙切哥奶酪。
The EU list of 96 GIs protected in China since 1 March 2021 includes iconic GI products such as Cava, Champagne, Cognac, Feta, Irish whiskey, Münchener Bier, Ouzo, Polska Wódka, Porto, Prosciutto di Parma and Queso Manchego.
这些产品是在与欧盟成员国协商后选定的。事实上，在中国保护的 96 个欧盟地理标志的名单仅占欧盟地理标志名称保护总数的一小部分（超过 3,300 个地理标志在欧盟注册）。
These products have been selected after consultation with the EU Member States. Indeed this initial list of 96 EU GIs protected in China represents only a small fraction of the total number of GI names protected in the EU (over 3,300 geographical indications are registered in the European Union).
Dot Live Broadcast：What do you think are the more representative GI products in the EU?
Damien Plan：Wine GIs represent 50% of more than 3,300 geographical indications currently registered in the European Union.
Therefore, we can say that the wines category is the most representative among GI products in the EU. It is the case of wines which quality is directly linked to their geographical origin, such as Champagne from France, Rioja from Spain or Chianti from Italy.
同样，在中国受保护的 96 个欧盟地理标志中，葡萄酒是迄今为止最具代表性的产品类别。 与中国签订的协议中，欧盟的葡萄酒地理标志占比为56% ，其次是烈酒 (16%) 和奶酪 (12%)。
Similarly, GI wines are by far the most represented product category in the first list of 96 EU GIs to be protected in China. 56% of the EU GIs in the agreement with China are wines, followed by spirits (16%) and cheese (12%).
Dot Live Broadcast：What are the similarities and differences between the GI products of China and the EU? Is there anything to learn from each other?
Damien Plan：Both in the EU and China, GI products showcase quality and authentic products from two regions with a rich culinary and cultural tradition.
The protection of GI product names through the EU-China GI agreement will bring benefits to producers and to consumers in the EU and China.
The GI system brings advantages for businesses. It provides a quality stamp that helps producers marketing their products. On average, the selling price of a GI product is twice of a similar non-GI product. The GI allows recognizing and rewarding farmers that work harder to produce high quality products. Both the EU and China have a deep rural heritage and this agreement will contribute to continue preserving traditional production processes. In this context, GI production also contributes to rural development and revitalization.
From the consumers’ point of view, the GI system guarantees the quality, the authenticity, and the origin of GI products. As Chinese consumers will have access to products of trusted origin from the European Union, also European consumers will be able to buy Chinese products with a geographical indication.
Given the differences between EU and China’s agriculture and culinary traditions, major categories of products included in the EU-China GI agreement may also differ. While the largest category of EU GIs covered by the agreement are wines (56%), the number one category of Chinese GIs are fruits or vegetables GIs.
II.geographical indication products and trade
Dot Live Broadcast：Since 1 March 2021, the China-EU GI Agreement has enter into force. What has been the impact on the trade development and market regulation of China and EU since its implementation for 3 months?
Damien Plan：In a conference event held in Beijing last March to celebrate the entry into force of the EU-China bilateral agreement on geographical indications, Ambassador Chapuis said that “This agreement provides high protection for European GI names on the Chinese market and for Chinese GI names on the European market. It is another step in the global recognition of geographical indications, allowing us to preserve the traditional way of producing these high-quality products, conserving our food heritage, and contributing to rural economies, bringing benefits to both European and Chinese consumers as well as society at large.”
Three months of implementation is a short time to assess the impact of the China-EU GI agreement on trade. Nevertheless, this landmark agreement between EU and China is expected to result in reciprocal trade benefits and demand for high quality products on both sides.
欧盟与中国的农产品贸易快速发展。 2020 年是创纪录的一年，欧盟对中国的农产品出口接近 180 亿欧元。预计中欧地理标志协定将进一步促进中欧农产品贸易发展。根据该协定，地理标志产品名称下的法律保护和更高的质量认可将为双方的农产品出口商带来贸易利益。
Agri-food trade between the EU and China has developed positively. 2020 was a record year with EU agri-food exports to China nearly reaching € 18 billion. The EU-China GI agreement is expected to further contribute to EU-China relations in respect to agri-food trade. Under this agreement, legal protection of GI product names and greater recognition of quality will bring trade benefits to agri-food exporters from both sides.
Dot Live Broadcast：What protection will geographical indication products receive in international trade?
彭达明：注册为地理标志的产品名称受到法律保护，不得仿冒和滥用。这适用于欧盟内部市场以及已签署特定保护协定的非欧盟国家，例如 2021 年 3 月 1 日生效的中欧地理标志协定。
Damien Plan：Names of products registered as geographical indications are legally protected against imitation and misuse. This applies to the market inside the EU as well as in non-EU countries where a specific protection agreement has been signed, which is the case of the EU-China agreement on GIs, which entered into force on 1 March 2021.
More specifically, the EU-China bilateral agreement on geographical indications foresees a high level of protection against any use on similar products that do not originate in the place indicated by the GI or that are not compliant with GI specifications.
Dot Live Broadcast：How to accelerate the trade development of bilateral GI products?
彭达明：欧盟地理标志的市场总额，包括欧盟内部的销售和欧盟对欧盟以外国家的出口，价值约 750 亿欧元，占欧盟食品和饮料年销售额的 7%。 地理标志产品出口约 170 亿欧元，占欧盟食品和饮料出口总额的 15% 以上。
Damien Plan：The total market for EU geographical indications, including domestic sales inside the EU and EU exports to countries outside the EU, is worth around €75 billion and accounts for 7% of EU food and drink annual sales value. GI exports of about €17 billion account for over 15% of total EU food and drink exports.
欧洲的食品和饮料在中国市场具有较高的增长潜力。 2020 年，中国是欧盟农产品出口的第三大目的地，达到创纪录的 177 亿欧元。中国也是欧盟地理标志产品出口的第三大目的地，占欧盟地理标志出口总值的9%，包括葡萄酒、农产品和烈酒。 中国消费者欣赏欧洲农产品的安全性、高质量和真实性。
European food and drinks have a high-growth potential in the Chinese market. In 2020, China was the third destination for EU agri-food products exports, reaching a record value of €17.7 billion. China is also the third destination of EU exports of GI products, accounting for 9% EU GI exports’ total value, including wines, agri-food products and spirit drinks. Chinese consumers appreciate European agri-food’s safety, quality and authenticity.
Raising public awareness of the concept of geographical indication can contribute to the development of bilateral trade of GI products. It is important that the public understands what GI stands for and what the benefits are for both producers and consumers. It will also be important to promote visibility of the EU-China agreement and its mutual trade benefits.
Dot Live Broadcast：What Chinese GI products have entered the EU market after the entry into force of the China-EU GI Agreement and how is the European consumer react? If not, how to promote their presence in the EU market?
Damien Plan：In terms of promotion of Chinese GIs in the EU market, it is important to highlight that the EU-China bilateral agreement on geographical indications foresees that“once a GI is protected under this Agreement, the products covered by that GI may bear the official symbols of the GI of the other Party in the territory of that Party”. With a GI stamp, products from the EU and China will benefit in terms of image and reputation in one another’s markets.
III.Geographical Indication Products and Industrial Development, Promoting Local Economic Growth
Dot Live Broadcast：Do you think GI products could be used to drive local income growth? Are there any successful cases for reference。Is there any connection between GI industry and cultural and tourism industry? Are there any successful cases?
Damien Plan：Geographical indications have the potential to contribute to growth of local economies.
On one hand, producers will be able to promote products based on quality and to respond to customers willing to pay higher prices for a GI product. In the EU, some economic studies have confirmed that GI products sell, on average, at a double price compared to similar non-GI products.
On the other hand, in addition to higher revenues for farmers or producers, there are other positive side effects of GI production on local income growth. Since GI production by definition remains located in the GI geographical area, production of GI products will contribute to maintain local jobs and economic activities and can contribute to rural revitalisation in that specific region.
GI production in a specific region encourages the preservation of local know-how, traditional techniques, rural landscapes and agro-tourism.
在欧洲，葡萄酒行业可以被视为地理标志的成功案例。地理标志产品的售价一般是非地理标志产品的两倍。就占欧盟所有葡萄酒 70% 的地理标志葡萄酒而言，与非地理标志葡萄酒的价格差异更为显著。根据去年为欧盟委员会所做的一项研究，地理标志葡萄酒与非地理标志葡萄酒的价值溢价率为 2.85。
In Europe, the wine sector can be seen as a GI success story. GI products in general are sold at a price twice as much as non-GI products’. In the case of GI wines, which account for 70% of all EU wines, the price difference to non-GI wines is even more significant. According to a study produced for the European Commission last year, the value premium rate stands at 2.85 for GI wines versus non-GI wines.
Furthermore, agro-tourism, especially wine tourism, has developed strongly in regions producing GI quality wines, providing an additional source of local income growth.
Dot Live Broadcast：What are the next steps for implementation? What are your expectations for the future exchange and cooperation between China and Europe on geographical indications?
彭达明：该协定于 2021 年 3 月 1 日生效以来，我们的重点是执行该协定。一旦欧盟和中国地理标志协定得到妥善执行，并切实提供高水平的保护以防止仿冒和盗用，中欧地理标志协定的互利将成为现实。
Damien Plan：Since the agreement entered into force on 1 March 2021, our focus is its implementation. The mutual benefits of the EU-China GI agreement will materialise once the agreement is properly implemented and a high level of protection against imitation and usurpation is actually provided to EU and Chinese GIs.
More specifically the EU-China GI agreement foresees that in the short term the EU and China will set up a Joint Committee between EU and China to monitor implementation of the agreement and to intensify cooperation and dialogue on geographical indications.
China and the EU should therefore work together to ensure solid implementation and enforcement of the agreement on each other’s market, and promotion of their iconic GI names.
Examples of cooperation activities that will take place include “exchanging information”, “exchanging experiences of enforcement”, “capacity building including with regard to enforcement of protection, and to the relation between trademarks and geographical indications”, “promotion of public awareness and dissemination of information on geographical indications”.
此外，在中期，即在生效后的四年内（到 2025 年 3 月），该协定将扩大到另外 350 个地理标志名称（双方各 175 个地理标志名称）。 这些名称必须遵循与协定已涵盖的第一个清单相同的审批程序。
Additionally, in the mid-term, within four years after entry into force (by March 2025), the agreement will expand to cover an additional 350 GI names (175 GI names from each side). These names will have to follow the same approval procedure as the first list of names already covered by the agreement.