A Greek minister has warned China to cancel fake trademarks of two Greek products including feta cheese in order for a future deal with Brussels on geographical indications to move on.
Brussels and Beijing agreed in June to publish a list of 200 geographical indications (GIs) – 100 from each side – that would be protected under an agreement to be signed later this year.
However, according to a document from the Greek ministry of economy and growth, Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Portugal, Germany, Hungary and Romania agreed to jointly file a lawsuit – to share the financial burden of the Chinese courts – against Beijing over 25 trademarks which are homonymous with EU geographical indications.
For Greece, feta cheese and Samos wine have been wrongly marketed as “feta” and “Samos”, written in Chinese.
“If these registrations are not rejected by the court, the Chinese holders will have the right to either produce these products for the domestic market or import homonymous counterfeit products from all over the world,” the government document warned.
EU member states to take China to court over fake geographical indications
Eight member states of the European Union will take legal action against China over 25 counterfeit trademarks on the Chinese market that mislead consumers on the origin of products protected by the EU’s geographical indications.
GIs, food products with a certified geographic origin, are a central part of the EU’s food quality schemes, offering consumers certainty over the authenticity and quality of their food, while allowing producers to command higher prices.
Speaking at the Greece-China Joint Ministerial Committee on Wednesday (20 September), Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Food Vasilis Kokkalis told the Chinese that the two products are of “crucial importance” for the conclusion of the negotiations between the European Union and China.
The Greek minister emphasised the importance of feta for the Greek economy, claiming that it supports the lives of thousands of families.
Feta cheese is considered the “white gold” of Greece’s economy. The country produces around 120,000 tonnes of feta every year, while the total domestic production of sheep and goat milk is about 1,100,000 tonnes.
The Greek minister pointed out that these two fake Chinese trademarks are an “insurmountable obstacle” for the effective protection of both Greek products. He called on China to take measures. (full article euractiv.com)