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First GI Week to Launch in Vientiane

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The FAO to Laos and the Ministry of Science and Technology held a joint press conference on Tuesday to announce the launching of the first Geographical Indications (GI) Week in Laos.

The GI Week is set to be organised from October 25 – 28, 2016 in Vientiane, aiming to promote the origin, quality and local wisdom found in food, agriculture and handicraft products from provinces throughout the country.

The Geographical Indications will seek to promote local products, ingenuity and unique geographically sourced handcrafts and commodities from countries including Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, France, Cambodia, Japan, and Morocco, India and the United Kingdom, officials confirmed.

Speaking at the press conference, Director General of the Department of Intellectual Property under the Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr Khanlasy Keobounphanh said the first Lao products expected to seek GI registration are the Boloven coffee, Khao Kai Noy rice and the four hundred year old tea from Phongsaly.

Dr Khansaly said during the four days, several events and activities will take place in Vientiane in order to promote a better understanding of the Geographical Indication’s system as well as the opportunities it provides for the national and international promotion and visibility of Lao products.

The GIs are also important for local producers, helping them to switch from quantitative to qualitative strategies and increasing opportunities in existing and new markets.

The GIs serve as intellectual property rights protection for products whose specifications are closely linked to their geographical location or origin. In the last decade, over 150 GIs have been registered in ASEAN alone, making this region one of the most dynamic world-wide. So far, none have been registered in Laos, she said.

GI products are often identified by their geographical names, such as “Champagne” from France, “Kampot Pepper” from Cambodia, “Darjeeling Tea” from India, “Shan Tuyet Moc Chau Tea” from Vietnam, “Lamphun Brocade Thai silk” from Thailand or “Scotch Whisky” from the United Kingdom, Dr Khansaly explained. The strong and often complex links between the local environment and human know-how from which the GI results, provides a guarantee for consumers seeking high quality, traceable and traditional products. The French Ambassador to Laos, Mrs Claudine Ledoux said the protection of quality products and local development are subjects dear to France.
“In Laos, our actions reflect firstly the work of the AFD with the coffee producer’s cooperative on the Boloven but especially with its regional programme for the promotion of Geographical Indications in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos,” Mrs Ledoux said.

According to the Ministry of Science and Technology, for the launching of the Lao GI system, Laos will partner with the French Embassy in the Lao PDR, the FAO-AFD Regional Project for the Promotion of Rural Development through the Development of Geographical Indications at Regional Level in Asia, the Asian Development Bank, the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Lao PDR.

Together they will host the Week of Geographical Indications in Laos to raise awareness of the concept and the potential it offers for both local producers as well as product exporters.

 

Source: Vientiane Times