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Sugar and pepper get GI status after delays

Sugar and pepper get GI status after delays

KAMPOT pepper and Kampong Speu palm sugar on Friday became the first local products geographically registered by the government in a move that officials hope will protect cultural traditions in certain areas and guard against fraudulent labelling of items intended for export.

Ministry of Commerce officials said the products were given geographical indication (GI) status, which brands products based on the areas for which they are famous, as in the case of Champagne.

“GI registration has a lot of advantages to protect intellectual property for producers, the quality of the products, users and in retaining the knowledge of people in geographical areas, to produce products with their traditions,” Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh said at a ceremony Friday.

The registrations of Kampot pepper and Kampong Speu palm sugar were a first step in preventing the fraudulent production of imitations, Cham Prasidh said.

The pepper and sugar are the first of six products developed with support from France’s Gret, a professional solidarity and international cooperation association, and others since 2004, said Mao Thora, secretary of state for the Ministry of Commerce.

More products to register
The four other planned GI products are Siem Reap prahok, or fish paste, Battambang rice, Phnom Srok silk, from a region of Banteay Meanchey province, and Pursat cardamom.

The government still needs to develop the administration and laws to protect GI products, promote them and form testing procedures for future registrations, Mao Thora said, following a lengthy process to finalise the first two that had been scheduled for completion months ago.

The first two products needed several years to register, he added. “But now with our experience, if our French counterpart continues helping us, I think we’ll spend around two years to achieve” future registrations.

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