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Apples and vinegar among goods put on the map by GI

By YUAN SHENGGAO | China Daily | Updated: 2020-09-18 10:11
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Jixian apples, which have now been added to the national list of geographical indications, have grown into a major industry. [Photo by Feng Gecai/For China Daily]

Shanxi's matured vinegar and apples from Jixian county were included on the recently released list of China's 100 geographical indications under protection in the European Union.

Leaders from China and the EU jointly announced the signing of a bilateral agreement on Monday to protect 100 of the EU's GIs in China and 100 Chinese GIs in the EU against imitations.

The inclusion of the two GIs from Shanxi shows that local products in the province have won increasing recognition in both the domestic and international market, according to local officials.

"The two products, which are known as Shanxi matured vinegar and Jixian apple according to the GI system, have been popular in the domestic market for a long time," said Wu Xiaoqin, deputy chief of the Shanxi Market Regulation Bureau.

According to the official, Shanxi matured vinegar was included on the list of Chinese GIs in 2004, which covers products made in the counties and districts of Qingxu, Xinhualing, Wanbailin, Xiaodian, Yingze, Jinyuan, Jiancaoping, Yuci, Taigu and Qixian.

Jixian apple was added to the national list in 2013.

"The GI system has helped to increase the popularity of the products and boosted local economies," Wu said.

He cited Jixian apple as an example, saying that the product has become one of the economic pillars in Jixian county and is sold in many regions in the world including Japan, South Korea, West Asia, Russia, Europe and North America.

He noted that local governments have become increasingly aware of the importance of GI and stepped up efforts to apply for GI for local products.

"Since September last year, 12 products in Shanxi, including potatoes in Pingshun, flour in Yuncheng and cherries in Jiangxian, were added to the national GI list. And the total number of GI trademarks in Shanxi reached 72," Wu said.

Yuncheng, a city in the south of Shanxi, boasts the largest number of GI products.

"We started to develop a GI strategy in 2009 and were the provincial pioneers in this field," said Wang Yijian, deputy chief of the Yuncheng market regulation bureau.

The official said Yuncheng is currently home to 24 GI trademarks and the city is applying for another 16.

In Huguan county, the government sees the local GI products including tomato as a major means to reducing poverty and driving economic growth.

According to the government of Huguan, the county's total revenue from the tomato industry reached 1.35 billion yuan ($200 million) last year, helping more than 15,000 rural residents out of poverty.

Li Yali contributed to this story.

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