Protection of Chinese geographical indications in EU et vice versa

The European Union and China have recently negotiated a bilateral agreement that will ensure the protection of 100 Chinese geographical indications in the EU and 100 European GIs in China. This agreement is of major importance in light of the fact that China is the second largest exporter of EU agricultural products market with GIs.

Amongst notorious GIs such as Champagne, Feta cheese and Prosciutto di Parma, wines from the Vipava valley (“Vipavska dolina”) can also be found on the list of European appellations. Although Slovenia has many other indications worth of international protection, such as Carniolian sausage (“kranjska klobasa”) and Bovec cheese (“bovški sir”), the named wines have, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, the greatest export potential. Other Slovenian product could find its way on the list expanding the protection in China to additional 175 products. This list is said to be negotiated 4 years after the entry into force of the agreement.

Geographical indications (GIs) are appellations that communicate the origin of the goods to participants on the market. Because of the quality that is associated with the origin, the consumers are willing to pay more for such products. Similarly to trademarks, geographical indications are industrial property rights designed to protect consumers from being deceived as well as producers from free-riding.