Irish whiskey and cream will be given special status in China due to an agreement between China and the European Union from 2021.
Ireland’s whiskey and cream are just two of over 100 Geographical Indicators (GIs) - a distinctive sign used to identify a product whose quality, reputation or other characteristics relate to its geographical origin - which were approved by the European Council today.
The Council approved the Agreement on the Protection of Geographical Indications between the EU and China, which will see the GIs granted a “high level of protection” on the Chinese market.
The list of GIs also includes Cava, Champagne, Feta, Münchener Bier, Ouzo, Polska Wódka, Porto, Prosciutto di Parma and Queso Manchego.
The Agreement will also see 100 Chinese GIs protected on the European market, including Wuyuan Green Tea and Panjin Rice.
It will come into force at the start of 2021 and the Irish government views the Chinese market as a “high-growth potential market” for European food and drinks.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD said that the agreement will “deliver real results for exporters.”
“Irish food and beverages are known throughout the world for their quality and high production standards. The protection afforded to Irish Whiskey and Irish Cream will be invaluable in accelerating exports to China.
“The Agreement also offers Irish consumers the ability to discover China’s own culinary specialities as we strive to further expand our trading links with Asia,” he said.
Minister of State for Trade Promotion Robert Troy said: “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.”
In 2019, Ireland exported over €5million worth of alcoholic beverages to China, with Irish whiskey accounting for 22.5pc of these exports.