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Minister of Commerce Highlights the Importance of Trademarks in Promoting Entrepreneurship

Phnom Penh, July 2, 2024 – Chamnimol, Minister of Commerce and Chairman of the National Committee for the Management of Intellectual Property, presided over the inauguration ceremony of the project on "Strengthening the System of Geographical Identification of Goods and Products of Sustainable Cambodian Geographical Identification" on the afternoon of July 1, 2024.

The event was attended by Ms. Rebek Cabel, Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), along with representatives from relevant ministries, institutions, the private sector, embassies, development partners, and numerous national and international guests.

The Minister expressed her support for the implementation of the "Sustainable Cambodian Geographic Markets and Commodities Project" and thanked the FAO for providing technical assistance for this project. She highlighted that this project would offer an opportunity for ministries, relevant institutions, the private sector, and development partners to strengthen cooperation, develop capacity, and address common challenges to enhance the value chain of Cambodian GI products.

The Minister anticipates that this project will provide a clear study to establish a specific basis for developing strategies to promote Cambodian geographical brands and to strengthen the capacity of stakeholders.

She stated that geographical indication is an intellectual property tool that plays a crucial role in promoting entrepreneurship, developing agricultural communities, increasing community income, and creating commercial competitiveness, thereby contributing to social, economic, cultural, and tourism development.

Since 2007, the Ministry of Commerce has been developing Geographical Indication Trademarks, establishing a Geographical Indication Trademark Development System. This includes the establishment of the Geographical Indication Trademark Office, preparation of legal standards, and implementation of protection registration projects for "Kampot Pepper" and "Kampong Speu Palm Sugar." These products, closely associated with their geographical areas, local knowledge, skills, and customs, have gained good reputations and have been registered as geographical marks of goods.

Since the registration of Kampot pepper and Kampong Speu palm sugar in 2010, there has been a significant increase in the number of farmers producing these products and in the packaging processing companies. These products are in high demand domestically and are also exported to many countries.

Kampot pepper and Kampong Speu palm sugar are registered to protect international brands, prevent counterfeiting, and build the reputation of Cambodian products in the international arena, gaining the trust and support of consumers and contributing to making Cambodia a tourist attraction. Additionally, Kampot Kep Salt is applying for registration in the European Union and through the Geneva legal system.

The Minister made several recommendations, including:

Preparation of necessary legal documents for the protection and development of GI trademarks.

Cooperation to strengthen the management and development of the Association of Geographical Marks.

Continued promotion and capacity building of Association members.

Promotion of technology use in GI product production.

Strengthening the internal control system of the association and the certification body.

Preparation of legal and infrastructure documents and capacity building of relevant institutions to become units to certify trademark conformity.

Expansion of the value chain and product innovation.

Collaboration to promote and build the reputation of the brand to become a national brand and tourist destination.

It should be noted that Cambodia has registered seven brands of geographical marks: 1- Kampot pepper, 2- Kampong Speu palm sugar, 3- Koh Trong grapefruit, 4- Mondulkiri wild honey, 5- Kampot salt Kep, 6- Kampot fish sauce Kep, and 7- Takeo lobster.

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