The Agreement will Properly Protect Italian Agribusiness Against Counterfeiting on the Chinese Marketplace

On 4 September, the Italian Government signed an agreement with the Chinese online platform Alibaba for the promotion and the protection of “Made in Italy” agricultural products.

Cooperation between the Italian government and Alibaba against counterfeiting of such products started last year when a huge quantity of fake parmesan and Prosecco wine appeared on the Chinese platform.

The agreement is remarkable as Italy is the first country to have its agricultural products designated with protected designation of origin (PDO) and protected geographic indication (PGI) measures. These are the same anti-counterfeiting measures reserved to all the other commercial brand products on Alibaba. Moreover, the agreement extended the protection, initially granted only to B2B online trade, also to the B2C platform so that real “Made in Italy” products may benefit from a potential market of 400 million users with expected lower risks of competing with counterfeited products.

The Italian Department for the Agricultural Policy has set up an ad hoc anti-counterfeiting committee that will be in charge of identifying counterfeited products and informing Alibaba of the relevant goods. Alibaba has committed to remove them within three days of the relevant advertisement of unlawful products.

Moreover, Alibaba also agreed to promote “Made in Italy” products on its portal by organizing promotional sales for specific products. In particular, the next initiative will be focused on Italian wine, the Chinese global import of which has significantly increased during the first half of 2016.