EU and China team up to fight illicit alcohol trade

Dacian Cioloș and Zhi ShupingThe EU and China have signed a letter of intent to join forces in the fight against counterfeit alcoholic beverages.

The initiative was announced during a visit by EU Commissioner Dacian Cioloș to Beijing, where he met with the Minister of the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine Zhi Shuping.

Among the proposed measures are: information sharing; identifying counterfeiting malpractices including faking of certificates of origin, marks of origin or similar documents; and developing ways to tackle the malpractices, such as "appropriate systems for control and traceability, training and seminars … detection methods [and] authentication through laboratory analysis."
Counterfeit alcohol is a major public health issue for both territories, with reports of fake wine and spirits hitting the headlines with alarming regularity.

Earlier this year fake vodka claimed the lives of 25 people in the Czech Republic, while towards the end of 2012 Chinese police sold 37,000 bottles of fake spirits - including knock-off Jack Daniels - that was destined for the bars of Beijing's fashionable Sanlitun district.

"This is one step forward in increasing the efficiency of the EU-China cooperation in the fight against counterfeiting in the wines and spirits sector, with positive effects on the economic and trade aspects, but also regarding public health and food safety," said Ciolos.

"It will bring benefits not only for producers but also for the Chinese consumers that will continue to enjoy safe, diverse and quality products," he added.

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