EU free trade deal with Vietnam will protect Champagne, Scotch whisky and a host of other foods and drinks with a geographical indication

James Nickerson
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169 European food and drinks products will be recognised on the Vietnamese market (Source: Getty)

Crack open the Champagne – after two and a half years of talks, a Free Trade Agreement has been agreed in principle between the European Union and Vietnam that will eliminate over 99 per cent of tariffs.

But you could open a bottle of Rioja wine or Scotch whisky if you prefer, because the agreement will respect European goods that have a geographical indication.

A geographical indication is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place.

And, under the terms of the deal, farmers and small businesses that produce food or drink with traditional methods will benefit from the recognition and protection on the Vietnamese market - at a comparable level to that of EU legislation - of European food and drink products from a specific geographical region.

Read more: There is more to Rioja than wine (although that would be plenty)

That means the use of geographical indicators for a total of 169 food and drinks products, including these beverages, will be reserved in Vietnam for products imported from the European regions where they traditionally come from.

Products with a geographical indication:

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Scotch Whisky

Rioja Wine

Roqueford cheese


Comté cheese

Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale (Traditional Balsamic Vinegar)

Last year, direct exports of Scotch whisky, for one, to Vietnam totalled £3.5m, and the hope is that the deal will see exports from Europe for these quality produced goods booming.

Vietnamese GIs will be recognised as well, which will provide the framework for further promoting imports of quality products such as Mộc Châu tea or Buôn Ma Thuột coffee.

Read more: Scotch Whisky Association calls for government support over "trade barriers" as exports drop to 25-year low

The agreement is also set up to allow new GIs to be added in the future.

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