Source: China IP News
The China-European Union (EU) Cooperation and Development Forum on Geographical Indications (GIs) was held in Suzhou recently on the occasion of the second anniversary of the entry into force of the China-EU Agreement on Cooperation and Protection of GIs and the 20th anniversary of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership, discussing on GI protection and healthy development of China-EU trade.
Liu Qibao, Vice Chairman of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and President of the China-EU Association, said that in the past two years, relevant parties from both China and the EU have stepped up positive cooperation and made many practical actions on the construction of China-EU GI cooperation mechanism and promotion and protection of related GI products during the implementation of the Agreement, which has enhanced the bilateral exchanges and understandings in GI protection and earned high affirmation and praise from both sides.
Mutual recognition/protection deepened
Hu Wenhui, Deputy Commissioner of the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), stated that in the past two years, the first batch of Chinese GI protects that are mutually recognized and protected such as Xinghua Chive, Fenghuang Single Cluster and Shaoxing Rice Wine, have entered the European market, and Chinese consumers have shown a positive and open attitude towards high-quality European GI products like wine, milk and meat. As of date, China and the EU have generated mutual protection for the first group of GIs with about 100 products from each side and issued the announcement for the second group of 175 products from each side.
The above remarkable results could not be done without a series of measures enforced by the CNIPA. In recent years, the CNIPA has actively fulfilled its international obligation of high-level GI protection by aggressively cracking down on GI counterfeiting and investigated infringement violations involving Bordeaux Wine and Münchener Bier on the list. The administration has also hastened the legislation of a law dedicated to GI, built national GI protection demonstration areas with a focus on the listed GI products, promoted high-standard management, high-level protection and high-quality development of GIs and explored the establishment of a true, verifiable, traceable and responsible mechanism for tracing the origin of GIs.
"Some of the GI products like Ningxia Goji Berry are from economically underdeveloped areas. The implementation of the Agreement would provide strong support for promoting rural revitalization and achieving sustainable economic development there," said Wang Yi, Secretary General of the Ningxia Gouqi Association, who hoped that Ningxia Goji Berry would have a better access to the international market with the help of the Agreement, allowing it to make greater contributions to human health.
With the signing of the Agreement and elevated attention of the Chinese government to IPR protection, Bordeaux Wine has gained strong protection in Chinese market, effectively protecting the legitimate rights and interests of its brands and consumers, according to Zhang Dongli, a principal responsible for the China Wine Festival of the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB).
List expanded to improve trade
Many unique Chinese and European products have been inscribed on the list of GI products, reflecting the strong desire for cooperation from both sides and the positive trend of China-EU economic and trade relations.
Bertie Ahern, former Irish Prime Minister and President of the InterAction Council, said that the signing and implementation of the Agreement have promoted the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership to achieve new progress on the basis of mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation, which is in line with the well-being of the economy, society and people of both sides. "The Agreement is working well, and will further promote GI products in each other's markets," said John Clarke, Director of the International Relations Department under the General Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of the EU, who was also the EU chief representative for the negotiation of the Agreement.
How to further inherit, innovate and cultivate GIs and promote the listed products in the markets of both sides to achieve mutual benefit in the future? Attendees shared their experiences and put forward feasible suggestions.
"In order to enter the European market, GI products must make the European consumers fully aware of the culture and history behind them. Chinese GI manufacturers and other parties should make good use of social media to reach a bigger crowd who may graduate from knowing the products to aspiring to experience them," said Georges-Henry Carrard, an executive responsible for Chinese affairs of the International Relations Department under the General Department of EU Agriculture and Rural Development.
According to Zhang Zhicheng, Director General of the CNIPA's Intellectual Property Protection Department, encouraging Chinese GIs to venture out, is one of the key aspects of strengthening GI protection in the new era. He introduced that during the 14th Five-Year Plan period, the CNIPA will continue to implement the Agreement, speed up the enactment of the second group of 350 GIs, strictly fulfill the international obligation of high-level GI protection, strictly crack down on infringement and counterfeiting of GIs and build GI protection heights to increasingly raise the competitiveness of Chinese GI products, and make bigger new contributions to implement new development concepts, construct a new development pattern, enhance high-quality development and boost close ties between China and foreign countries.