Polish vodka gets ‘protected status’ in historic EU-China deal

The European Union and China agreed on Wednesday to protect 100 European regional food and drinks from imitation, with vodka being the only Polish product on the list. Kalbar/TFN

Polish vodka is to get protected status in China after being included in a list of 100 European Geographical Indications under a landmark EU-China deal.

The European Union and China agreed on Wednesday to protect 100 European regional food and drinks from imitation, with vodka being the only Polish item on the list.

Under the Protected Geographical Indication, the ingredients for Polish vodka have to be grown in Poland and can only be produced with five traditional grains – wheat, rye, triticale, barley and oats – or with potatoes.Kalbar/TFN

Also included in the mutual deal will be the names of products such as Cava, Irish whiskey, feta and prosciutto di Parma, as well as China's Pixian bean paste, Anji white tea and Panjin rice.

It is planned to increase trade in high-quality products between the EU and China.

Foods protected as "geographical indications" (GIs) are on average more than twice the price of non-GI products.

Posting on Twitter, Phil Hogan, the outgoing Agriculture and Rural Development European Commissioner wrote: “Today, #EU & #China signed a historic agreement to protect 100 European Geographical Indication products (GIs) in China & 100 Chinese GIs in the EU!.”Philip Hogan/Twitter

GIs from Italy and France top the list, with 26 and 25, followed by Spain (12), Portugal (6), Greece (6), Germany (5), Great Britain (4), Ireland and the Czech Republic (2 each). The remaining 12 EU countries, including Poland, have one GI each.

Phil Hogan, the outgoing Agriculture and Rural Development European Commissioner said: “European Geographical Indication products are renowned across the world for their quality.

According to Statistics Poland, last year Poland produced 945,000 hectolitres of vodka making it the 4th largest producer in the EU and the fourth largest worldwide, behind only Russia, Ukraine and the USA.Kalbar/TFN

“Consumers are willing to pay a higher price, trusting the origin and authenticity of these products, while also benefiting farmers.

“This agreement shows our commitment to working closely with our global trading partners such as China.

“It is a win for both parties, strengthening our trading relationship, benefitting our agricultural and food sectors, and consumers on both sides.”

In a statement Philip Hogan said: “It is a win for both parties, strengthening our trading relationship, benefitting our agricultural and food sectors, and consumers on both sides.”Philip Hogan/Twitter

Under the Protected Geographical Indication, the ingredients for Polish vodka have to be grown in Poland and can only be produced with five traditional grains – wheat, rye, triticale, barley and oats – or with potatoes.

In addition, with the exception of bottling, all stages of production have to take place in Poland.

According to Statistics Poland, last year Poland produced 945,000 hectolitres of vodka making it the 4th largest producer in the EU and the fourth largest worldwide, behind only Russia, Ukraine and the USA.

In the landmark EU-China deal, Polish vodka is to get protected status in China after being included in a list of 100 European Geographical Indications.Kalbar/TFN

The EU-China deal still needs to be ratified by the European Parliament but is expected to enter into force before the end of 2020.

EU agri-food exports to China were worth EUR 12.8 billion in the 12 months from September 2018 to August 2019), making China the second largest destination for such products and for GIs from the EU.