Irish products were among 100 EU goods that will be protected against imitations in China

Irish whiskey and Irish cream liqueur are among 100 products from the EU that will be protected as European Geographical Indications (GIs) in China.

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As such, only whiskey and liqueur made in Ireland will be allowed to be labeled and sold as “Irish” in China. The new agreement, which reciprocates the protection of 100 Chinese products in the EU, also provides for legal recourse in the face of imitations.

Earlier this year, Irish Whiskey was awarded the geographical indicator protection status in the EU.

Irish politician Phil Hogan, the EU’s Agriculture and rural development commissioner, said: “European Geographical Indication products are renowned across the world for their quality. Consumers are willing to pay a higher price, trusting the origin and authenticity of these products, while further rewarding farmers.”

He added: “This agreement shows our commitment to working closely with our global trading partners such as China. It is a win for both parties, strengthening our trading relationship, benefitting our agricultural and food sectors, and consumers on both sides.”

Today, #EU & #China signed a historic agreement to protect 100 European Geographical Indication products (GIs) in China & 100 Chinese GIs in the EU! Thanks to Presidents XI & @EmmanuelMacron for attending. More: #EUChina #EUQuality

— Phil Hogan (@PhilHoganEU) November 6, 2019

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A press release about the new deal, which has been in negotiations for several years, said: “This landmark agreement is expected to result in reciprocal trade benefits and demand for high-quality products on both sides.”

The statement also added: “China is the second destination for EU agri-food exports, reaching €12.8 billion (in the 12-month period between September 2018 and August 2019). It is also the second destination of EU exports of products protected as Geographical Indications, accounting for 9% of its value, including wines, agri-food products, and spirit drinks.”

The agreement that features 100 EU products and 100 Chinese products will now be subject to legal scrutiny but is expected to be enacted before the end of 2020.

 The ceremony to mark the conclusion of negotiations for the #EUChina Geographical Indications agreement, in Beijing 

With @PhilHoganEU  & @EmmanuelMacron #EUQuality

— EU Agriculture (@EUAgri) November 6, 2019

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William Lavelle, head of the Irish Whiskey Association in Ireland, welcomed the news: "Irish whiskey sales in China have historically been low, but the category recorded 50% growth in 2018. Chinese consumers are increasingly looking for authenticity. This agreement protects and promotes authenticity and will grow sales.

"The protection provided in this agreement will further give Irish whiskey producers the confidence to invest in increased sales and marketing in China, knowing that there is a legal remedy to crack down on fake competitors," he added.

Similarly, Vincent McGovern, head of Drinks Ireland | Spirits, said: “We welcome news today that the GI for Irish cream liqueur is to be recognized and protected in China.

“China is one of the largest consumer markets and a growing target for high-quality spirits. We anticipate that the Chinese consumer will continue to respond positively to the provenance and heritage that is at the heart of the many successful brands created by the Irish cream liqueur sector.”