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Ambassador Zhang Ming speaks on occasion of the first anniversary of the signing of the China-EU GI Agreement

On 14 September last year, President Xi Jinping held a video conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, President Michel of the European Council and President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission. The same day, China and the EU signed the agreement on cooperation on, and protection of, geographical indications (GIs). Today is the first anniversary of the signing of the agreement. The agreement initially protects 100 European GIs in China and 100 Chinese GIs in the EU. Within four years of its entry into force, the scope of the agreement will expand to cover additional 175 GIs from both sides. This agreement not only protects and promotes high-quality GIs in each other's markets, but also offers more options for Chinese and European people to pursue a better life. The GIs on the agreement are mainly agricultural products. Despite the pandemic, agricultural trade between China and the EU has maintained a rapid momentum of growth during the past year, and is expected to exceed US $30 billion, up by over 16% year-on-year. It needs to be noted that the agreement on GIs makes an important contribution to bilateral agricultural trade.

China and the EU are both major global players in agriculture. The agricultural sectors between the two sides are similar and highly complementary. With a large population and limited arable land, Chins makes food security a top priority. By feeding the 1.4 billion population almost on its own, China has played an important role in ensuring global food security and market stability. The EU is the third largest market of China's agricultural exports and the third largest source of China's imports. Over the years, frequent exchanges in areas of policies and regulations, agricultural science and technology, GI, animal health and young talents have increased mutual understanding. Within multilateral frameworks such as the UN, the G20 and the WTO, the two sides maintain sound interactions, jointly promoting global governance on food and agriculture. At the moment, both China and the EU have entered a new period of agricultural and rural development. Sustainable agricultural development is the common goal. Very recently, China's Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs and European Commissioner for Agriculture had an in-depth and friendly exchange of views, further facilitating bilateral cooperation in the future.

The agreement on GIs that was signed a year ago sets a good example. It shows again that China-EU relations are mutually beneficial. And it is the shared responsibility and goal to meet the expectations and needs of the people on both sides. What's also important is that China and the EU should uphold comprehensive strategic partnership, advance dialogue and cooperation based on mutual respect, and make rational choices that serve the common interests of both sides and meet the call of the times. Doing so, it will add new momentum to sound and stable development of China-EU relations and foster a favorable environment for both sides in responding to global challenges.

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