EU, China agree to protect 100 of each other’s regional foods

EU agri-food exports to China were worth €12.8 billion in the 12 months from September 2018 to August 2019. Above, a container ship berthing at the port in Qingdao, in China’s eastern Shandong province. (AFP)
Updated 06 November 2019

EU, China agree to protect 100 of each other’s regional foods

  • The deal significantly expands the number of foods protected by GIs that were agreed in 2012
  • EU agri-food exports to China were worth €12.8 billion in the 12 months to August 2019

BEIJING: The European Union and China have agreed to protect 100 European regional food names, known as geographical indications (GI), in China and 100 Chinese geographical indications in the EU, said a statement from the EU Commission on Wednesday.
The deal will include protecting the name of products such as cava, Irish whiskey, feta and prosciutto di Parma, as well as China’s Pixian bean paste, Anji white tea and Panjin rice.
The deal significantly expands the number of foods protected by GIs from the 10 products on both sides that were agreed in 2012 and should help boost trade in higher value goods.
“It is a win for both parties, strengthening our trading relationship, benefiting our agricultural and food sectors, and consumers on both sides,” said Agriculture and rural development Commissioner Phil Hogan, who is currently visiting China.
Consumers are willing to pay more for GI products, he said, trusting the origin and authenticity of the goods.
The agreement still needs to be approved by the European Parliament and Council but is expected to enter into force before the end of 2020, said the statement.
It will be expanded to cover an additional 175 GI names from both sides four years after the current agreement.
EU agri-food exports to China were worth €12.8 billion in the 12 months from September 2018 to August 2019.


FBI: Saudi shooter believed to have acted alone in US Navy base attack

Updated 09 December 2019

FBI: Saudi shooter believed to have acted alone in US Navy base attack

  • Special agent Rachel Rojas thanked Saudi Arabia for its cooperation in the investigation
  • Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani was shot dead after he opened fire and killed three people at the base in Florida

PENSACOLA: Investigators believe a Saudi Air Force lieutenant acted alone on Friday when he killed three people and wounded eight at a US Navy base in Pensacola, Florida before being fatally shot by police, the FBI said on Sunday.
Rachel Rojas, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Jacksonville office, said the shooter used a Glock model 45 9mm handgun that he had purchased legally in Florida.
“We currently assess there was one gunman who perpetrated this attack and no arrests have been made in this case,” Rojas, the lead investigator on the case, said at a news conference.
“We are looking very hard at uncovering his motive and I would ask for patience so we can get this right,” she said.
Authorities confirmed the suspect was a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force who was on the base as part of a US Navy training program designed to foster links with foreign allies.
The FBI identified him as Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, 21.
A sheriff’s deputy fatally shot the gunman, authorities said, ending the second deadly attack at a US military base within a week. Within hours, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman had called US President Donald Trump to extend his condolences and pledge the Kingdom’s support in the investigation.
Rojas said there were several Saudi students who were close to the shooter and are cooperating with investigators.
“Their Saudi commanding officer has restricted them to base, and the Saudi government has pledged to fully cooperate with our investigation,” she said. “I thank the kingdom for their pledge of full and complete cooperation.”

Meanwhile, a second victim was identified as Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, 19, of St. Petersburg, Florida, who joined the Navy after graduating from high school last year, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Haitham's mother, Evelyn Brady, herself a Navy veteran, said the commander of her son's school called her and told her Haitham had tried to stop the shooter.