DUBLIN, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Irish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, on Monday welcomed an agreement between the European Union (EU) and China, which will give special status to Irish whiskey and Irish cream in China.
The agreement on the Protection of Geographical Indications (GIs) between the European Union and China, which was approved Monday by the European Council, is "hugely significant" and will deliver "real results" for Irish exporters, Varadkar said in a statement.
He said that the protection given to Irish whiskey and Irish cream under the agreement will be "invaluable in accelerating exports to China."
"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," he said.
Commenting on the agreement, Irish Minister of State for Trade Promotion Robert Troy also said in the statement that "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."
A geographical indication is a distinctive sign used to identify a product whose quality, reputation or other characteristics related to its geographical origin. The above-mentioned agreement will see over 100 EU GIs including two Irish GIs, namely Irish whiskey and Irish cream, granted a high level of protection on the Chinese market. Likewise the agreement will also see 100 Chinese GIs protected in the EU.
According to the statement, the agreement is expected to enter into force at the start of 2021.
The Chinese market is a high-growth potential market for European food and drinks, said the statement, adding that in 2019, Ireland exported over 5 million euros (about 5.9 million U.S. dollars) worth of alcoholic beverages to China, with Irish whiskey accounting for 22.5 percent of these exports.