New EU-China agreement on protection of geographical indications (GI) of Irish Whiskey which was under negotiation for a number of years, was finalised today at a meeting in Beijing.
The agreement will be signed Wednesday (5.30am Irish time) by EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan in China, said Drinks Ireland | Irish Whiskey Association
It will reportedly ensure protection for Irish Whiskey – Ireland’s leading GI category – in China for the first time, which provides a legal recourse to take action against fake Irish whiskey on sale in China.
From now on only Irish whiskey distilled and matured on the island of Ireland can be labelled and sold in China as Irish whiskey, the group explained.
William Lavelle, Head of the Irish Whiskey Association in Drinks Ireland, stated that Irish whiskey sales in China have historically been low, but the category recorded 50% growth in 2018.
"Chinese consumers are increasingly looking for authenticity," he added.
"This agreement protects and promotes authenticity and will grow sales."
“The protection provided in this agreement will further give Irish whiskey producers the confidence to invest in increased sales and marketing in China, knowing that there is legal remedy to crack down on fake competitors.”
Drinks Ireland | Irish Whiskey Association, in conjunction with spiritsEUROPE, the representative federation for the EU spirits industry, had been actively lobbying for finalisation of this agreement.
Last week, the group successfully secured legal protection in Taiwan, by registering Irish whiskey as a certification trademark in both English and Chinese.
So far this year, Drinks Ireland | Irish Whiskey Association has secured legal protection in three other important markets for Irish whiskey - Australia, South Africa and India.
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