December 4, 2020

This is how Brussels will protect the Spanish countryside from the “tsunami” of Chinese imitations




Two hundred European agri-food products and, among them, 12 Spanish denominations of origin such as Rioja Wine, Valdepeñas, Navarra, Valencia or Jerez, Cava, Sierra Mágina (Jaén) and Priego (Córdoba) oils, as well as Jerez brandy and Manchego cheese will be available from the beginning of next year. of a new “shield” against counterfeits and counterfeits of Chinese origin. Specifically, according to the resolution approved by the European Parliament with a large majority, 80% of counterfeit product seizuresEuropeans in 2018 and 2019 originated in China. Which caused estimated losses for European companies in 60 billion of euros.

In return, a hundred Chinese products with a designation of origin will have identical protection on Community soil. MEPs also gave the green light to extend this new “umbrella” to 175 other products from both parties in the next four years, including 36 Spanish articles such as the Denomination of Origin “Ribera del Duero”, oils from Baena, meat products from the Dehesa de Extremadura, citrus from Valencia or nougat from Alicante.

With this approval, MEPs considered the pact with China of “Important exercise of trust” within a broader negotiation process, the goal of which is to close an ambitious bilateral investment agreement. In this sense, the rapporteur of the text approved by the popular Romanian Iuliu Winkler, this agreement will boost agri-food exports that reached the European level 14,500 million euros in 2019. However, the European Parliament did not forget to criticize the “unfair” commercial practices of Chinese public companies.

In any case, the Chinese giant plays a very relevant role for the European economy and, particularly, the Spanish one: As recalled from the European Parliament is the third destination for exports of European products with geographical indications (wines, oil, agri-food products, etc …) . It should be remembered that Spain represents 58% of the EU’s olive oil exports – more than 399,266 tons traded in the last ten months, according to Eurostat – and that China is, for example, the fourth market for Spain. This country is the destination for 9% of our olive oil exports (34,952 tons only between December 2019 and September this year).

The case of wine

Another emblematic product, wine, we are the third largest exporter within the community club after France and Italy. Specifically, according to the Spanish Wine Market Observatory, last year Spain was the fourth wine supplier of the Asian giant with 65.1 million liters, only surpassed by Chile, Australia and France.

So this new “shield” for our denominations of origin has managed to gather the applause of the main political parties with representation in the European Parliament. For the popular MEP Gabriel Mato, it is an agreement «Very positive due to the great potential of the Chinese market and by the need to open new markets for Spanish and European products ”. In addition, in his opinion, “it should be a boost rural zones where these products are mainly manufactured ”. Along these lines, Mato hopes that there will be “a fair reciprocity” on the Chinese side and the commitment to respect human rights.

For the PSOE MEP Rodríguez-Piñero, it is the “first major bilateral trade agreement signed between the European Union and China, and is based on mutual respect.” In this sense, the MEP sees “An encouraging sign” that the Asian giant is willing to collaborate with Brussels and has pointed out that China is now betting on the European system of protection of quality according to origin.

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