DUBLIN, Ireland - Irish whiskey and Irish cream have been given a boost by their special designation by one of the the pair's biggest importers.
China has awarded both products special status under an agreement reached with the European Union.
The European Council on Monday approved the Agreement on the Protection of Geographical Indications (GIs) between the European Union and China. A geographical indication is a distinctive sign used to identify a product whose quality, reputation or other characteristics relate to its geographical origin. The Agreement will see over 100 EU GIs including two Irish GIs Irish Whiskey and Irish Cream granted a high level of protection on the Chinese market. Likewise the Agreement will also see 100 Chinese GIs including Wuyuan Green Tea and Panjin Rice protected in the EU.
The Agreement is expected to enter into force at the start of next year. The Chinese market is a high-growth potential market for European food and drinks. Last year, Ireland exported over €5 million worth of alcoholic beverages to China, with Irish Whiskey accounting for more than a fifth of those exports.
"This Agreement is hugely significant and will deliver real results for exporters. Irish food and beverages are known throughout the world for their quality and high production standards. The protection afforded to Irish Whiskey and Irish Cream will be invaluable in accelerating exports to China," the Tnaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadka said Tuesday.
"The Agreement also offers Irish consumers the ability to discover China's own culinary specialties as we strive to further expand our trading links with Asia."
This Agreement is a concrete example of cooperation between two of the world's largest traders and demonstrates the importance of such agreements in building strong trade relations," Varadkar said.
The Minister of State for Trade Promotion Robert Troy added: "Irish cream and Irish Whiskey are renowned across the world for their quality. Ireland's trade relationship with China is ever-growing and this Agreement will strengthen our trading relationship, benefiting both our agri-food sector and our consumers."
Negotiations for the EU-China GI Agreement concluded in November last year. The Agreement establishes the conditions for a high level of protection to a list of 100 EU GIs on the Chinese market, and a list of 100 Chinese GIs in the EU.
The EU list of GIs to be protected in China includes products such as Cava, Champagne, Feta, Irish whiskey, Mnchener Bier, Ouzo, Polska Wdka, Porto, Prosciutto di Parma and Queso Manchego. Among the Chinese products, the list includes for example Pixian Dou Ban (Pixian Bean Paste), Anji Bai Cha (Anji White Tea), Panjin Da Mi (Panjin rice) and Anqiu Da Jiang (Anqiu Ginger).