After 15 years of negotiations, Cognac’s status was officially announced in December 2009 by the AQSIQ (General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine).
The BNIC (Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac) began talks with the Chinese authorities as early as 1995, via Chinese importers, to gain recognition for Cognac as a PGI.
In 2005 China introduced legislation which protected 900 nationally produced products from specified areas but excluded imported goods.
Further discussions throughout 2009 between the Chinese authorities and the president and director of the BNIC, with support from the EU and the French Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, resulted in official recognition of Cognac.
BNIC director Alain Philippe said: “This is a very fitting end to the Centenary Year of the official recognition of the Cognac appellation. That Cognac is the first European PGI to be recognised by the Chinese reflects the international importance of Cognac as an economic locomotive. It is a very proud day for us.”
Created in 1992, the Protected Geographical Indication is a pan-European term used to designate an area, a specific place or, in exceptional cases, a country. It describes an agricultural product or a foodstuff which comes from such a place and which has a specific quality, goodwill or other characteristic property attributable to its geographical origin. The production, processing or preparation takes place within the determined geographical area.