The Improvement of the Geographical Indication System in Southeast Asia

The last two months were fruitful for with regards to the development of geographical indication system (GI) in Southeast Asia. For instance, the Intellectual Property Department of Thailand has recently expressed its wish to encourage the development of GI, while in Vietnam, the French Development Agency (AFD) announced in November that it would provide USD1.09 million for a USD1.3 million GI development project.
Finally, during the World Assembly of Geographical Indications in Milan, Italy on 12 October 2015, Cambodian pepper farmers have spoken about how using geographical indications has had direct economic benefits. “Kampot pepper” obtained the World Trade Organization’s GI status in 2010 and an application as GI in the EU is being prepared.
The GI – a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin – is a key tool to expand the sale of domestic products worldwide but also in the country as tourist souvenirs. Thus, the director-general of the Thai DIP, Nuntawan Sakuntanaga, announced that her department would cooperate with the Tourism Ministry to promote the sale of GI products at tourist spots. Eight new GI products will be registered next year by the DIP of Thailand which has urged every province to have at least one GI product.
Regarding the GI development project in Vietnam, it is expected to help Vietnam improve GI registration and supervision through a new approach of the GI mechanism based on the experience of European countries, including France. A joint venture, comprising the Rural Development Centre, the Research Centre for Agricultural System Development and the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, will be in charge of implementing the three years project. As Vietnam currently only recognizes 46 GIs, the development of the GI system has become a priority. . A strong future is expected for the GI in Southeast Asia. [Sources: TUOITRENEWS; UNCTAD; THE NATION]

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