Businesses urged to promote GIs

Thursday, Jun 30, 2016 16:24

Customers shop for Phu Quoc fish sauce, a speciality of Phu Quoc Island in the southern province of Kien Giang. Registration of geographical indications will help local firms protect trademarks, improve their position in the world market and easily enter demanding markets. — VNA/VNS Quang Hai

HA NOI— Registration of geographical indications (GIs) is a good way to protect trademarks, improve a business’ position in the world market and easily enter demanding markets, including the EU, experts said.

Speaking at the workshop on Commitments on the GIs in the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), jointly held by the European Trade Policy and Investment Support Project (EU-MUTRAP) and the Ministry of Science and Technology in Ha Noi yesterday, experts said counterfeit goods had been plaguing the world. Currently, the EU recognises only the Phu Quoc sausage as a Vietnamese GI product out of the 7,000 GIs granted in the major market.

Tran Viet Thanh, deputy minister of Science and Technology, said GI products could be more competitive than other products as they are recognised for their quality and trademark.

“Viet Nam has several high-quality products unique to each locality. However, the issue of GIs should be given attention as the country has only one GI product in the large EU market,” Thanh said.

He said businesses have not fully understood the importance of the GI registration. Viet Nam should learn from the experience of working in the demanding market to build a GI management system, thus improving its export value.

Jana Herceg, deputy head of the Economics and Trade Section of the EU Delegation to Viet Nam, said the country had several famous products, such as dragon fruit, coffee and tea.

Viet Nam could exploit these products to benefit from the registration of GIs, she said.

The country should build a national system for quality control when considering and recognising GI protection. This could help the country’s products surpass technical barriers to penetrate the EU market, she added.

“GI owners would have both opportunities and challenges. This is why they should focus on enhancing quality, promoting their trademark and marketing their products,” she said.

Luu Duc Thanh, head of the office’s GI and international brand division, has said in the past that Viet Nam had been selling a number of well-known products without GIs, which had led to the lack of a legal foundation for dealing with counterfeit goods.

Viet Nam currently has 43 products with registered GIs, varying from flowers, fruit and food to consumer goods. They come from across the country, including Ha Giang Province in the northern mountainous region, Quang Ninh Province in the northeast, Thanh Hoa Province on the northern central coast and Vinh Long or Bac Lieu in the Mekong Delta, according to Dao Duc Huan, Director of the Rural Development Centre.

He pointed out the lax exploitation and management of Viet Nam’s GIs, resulting in the widespread counterfeiting of GIs domestically and abroad.

An obstacle to GI protection is that producers are working separately. As many producers and farmers have not fully understood the importance of GI protection, they have not attempted to actively co-operate with each other. Instead, they compete unfairly, affecting the creation of products specific to each region.

Huan also noted the lack of funding for GI registration and overseas market development strategies.

Claudio Dordi, technical assistance team leader of the EU-MUTRAP, said the effective management of GI-registered goods needed the close co-ordination of enterprises, industry associations, local management agencies and independent quality certification bodies in each locality.

Viet Nam and the EU concluded negotiations on their FTA in Brussels last December.

The EVFTA will eliminate 99 per cent of import tariffs on Vietnamese goods delivered to the EU and vice versa after seven to ten years. It is expected to increase Viet Nam’s exports to the EU by 4 per cent and EU exports to Viet Nam by more than 3 per cent each year.

The EU is one of the top trade partners of Viet Nam, with bilateral trade increasing from US$17.75 billion in 2010 to $41.4 billion in 2015. — VNS

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