Unique products need more efficient geographic indication labeling

09:37 | 15/01/2020 Trade

(VEN) - The price of Vietnamese goods that have obtained geographical indication tends to increase, but while Vietnam has many such products, it has failed to exploit the benefits of the geographical indication certification.

unique products need more efficient geographic indication labeling
The signing ceremony of a coordination agreement on development and management of geographical indications for Vietnamese goods

Limited exploitation

Vietnam has achieved many positive results in the international economic integration process due to its participation in bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements (FTAs). With increasingly fierce competition, development and management of geographical indications for Vietnamese goods help add value and credibility to local products, giving them market differentiation.

According to the Ministry of Science and Technology, Vietnam has registered protection of geographical indications for 70 specialties. Of which, Shan Tuyet Moc Chau tea and Van Yen cinnamon were successfully registered in Thailand and granted a certificate of protection, while Phu Quoc fish sauce was accepted by the EU for protection of geographical indication. In addition, 39 Vietnamese geographical indications will also be recognized and protected in the EU as soon as the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) takes effect.

The price of Vietnamese goods have increased after obtaining geographical indication labeling. For example, the price of Cao Phong oranges has doubled, while the prices of Meo Vac mint honey and Phu Quoc fish sauce have increased by 75-80 percent and 30-50 percent, respectively.

However, localities in Vietnam have not focused on intellectual property development and geographical indication protection and activities promoting geographical indication protected products have remained limited, while management of geographical indications has been loose.

Some Vietnamese trademarks have been stolen and violated by foreign enterprises, such as Buon Me Thuot coffee, Trung Nguyen coffee, Bibica confectionery and Vinataba. It takes much time and money to reclaim these brands.

Promoting information dissemination

Many programs and solutions to support the development and management of geographical indications for Vietnamese goods have been implemented, such as the Vietnam Value program, Vietnam food branding strategy, and the project on supporting registration for protection of Vietnam’s geographical indications in Japan.

To improve efficiency of state management of geographical indications, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade signed a coordination agreement in 2018 on development and management of geographical indications for Vietnamese goods. The coordination is important as it lays the foundations for the three ministries to improve state management, enhance efficiency in geographical indications, as well as increase value of protected products and competitiveness of Vietnamese products in the world market. In the process of FTA negotiations, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has also asked partners to recognize the list of Vietnam’s protected products.

The Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade has coordinated with localities to implement training programs to raise awareness of enterprises, cooperatives and organizations to develop collective marks and geographical indications. In addition to providing specialized knowledge, these activities are designed to encourage business development associated with geographical indication protected products.

The Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency has also been promoting information on geographical indication protected products at home and abroad. “We have worked with a number of localities to build a communications strategy and support the development of geographical indication protected products. A circular guiding the implementation of the national program on trade promotion for foreign trade development issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade also encourages projects to introduce Vietnam’s geographical indication protected products to the world market,” said Hoang Minh Chien, deputy director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency.

Geographical indication is a name or symbol used on products which have a specific geographical location or origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are related to that origin. Geographical indication is increasingly proving its importance in agricultural and rural development, contributing to the preservation of traditional cultural values, development of trade and production activities, as well as improving the added value of Vietnamese agricultural products.

Quang Duong