Source: Unsplash

China will ensure that imitations of numerous EU goods will not be produced or sold within its borders

Irish whiskey and Italian prosciutto are among products receiving protected status in China following an agreement this week between Brussels and Beijing to protect speciality foods.

China will ensure that imitations of 100 European regional food products are neither produced nor sold in the country, including champagne, feta and kalamata olives. Europe will protect an equivalent number of Chinese goods, including pixian bean paste, anji white tea and anqiu ginger.

Scotch whisky and Scottish farmed salmon are already protected, as are West Country farmhouse cheddar and blue stilton.

“It is a win for both parties, strengthening our trading relationship, benefiting our agricultural and food sectors, and consumers on both sides,” said EU agriculture and rural development commissioner Phil Hogan.

The EU exported €12.8bn of food and drink in the 12 months to August 2019, making it the second-biggest market behind the US. The new agreement aims to take advantage of the increasing penchant among China’s growing middle class for European products.

The agreement must be ratified by the European Parliament and EU government and is expected to come into force by the end of 2020. After four years it will expand to an additional 175 geographical products from both areas.

The parties have long struggled to sign a comprehensive trade deal, with Beijing now reported to be prioritising trade negotiations with the US.