France and China sign accord on counterfeit wines

Signature ceremonyFrance and China have entered into a bilateral agreement to try to limit the trade in counterfeit wines and spirits, with an emphasis on increased information sharing.

The statement of intent was signed by Fleur Pellerin, France's Secretary of State for Foreign Trade and Wu Qinghai, Vice- Minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine in China.

Under the terms of the agreement, French producers will provide information on exports of wines and spirits to the Chinese authorities, who will use the data to monitor the authenticity of products circulating within the domestic market.

Exports of wine and spirits from France to China were worth around €836m ($1.15bn) last year, according to Pellerin, who noted at the ceremony that the accord would "strengthen the traceability and safety of exports."

France is the biggest supplier of bottled wines to the Chinese market, although exports have been pegged back in recent quarters as China's economic growth has started to slow. Reliable data on the amount of counterfeit wine in the country is unavailable, although some estimates put the proportion to be as high as 50 per cent compared to a global 'average' of around 20 per cent.

The statement of intent - which will be followed by a further agreement that will lay out the specific terms of the collaboration - "reflects the common desire of France and China to protect producers against counterfeiting [and] guarantee the quality of products for Chinese consumers," she added.

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