Lack of intellectual property protection hinders agriculture

Vietnamese agricultural products may lose their identity if the country does not start to register for intellectual property protection globally.

On December 1, Hanoi authorities held a conference on building market and brand recognition through geographical indications and trade links between Hanoi and other provinces with the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The conference hopes to raise people’s awareness about brand recognition and improve trademark protection work.

Protected products on display at the conference on December 1

Nguyen Doan Toan, Hanoi’s vice chairman, said Vietnam was one of the world’s biggest rice and coffee exporters. In addition, there are many outstanding agricultural products in many localities. However, local firms haven’t paid enough attention to intellectual property rights in agriculture.

A report at the conference showed that as many as 90 Vietnamese agricultural products are being exported under foreign brands. 50 geographical indications and 140 brands have been registered but only a few of them are registered overseas. This is caused by the small scale of farming, inefficient businesses and lack of connections between local authorities, farmers and businesses.

According to the Hanoi authorities, customers prefer products with clear points of origins and proper brands. That’s why geographical indications are very important to boost the position of Vietnamese agricultural produce in the global market. Geographical indicators can also help attract investment and promote tourism.

Director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency Bui Huy Son said over 500,000 litres of fish sauce have been sold in the EU since the European Commission granted protection to Phu Quoc fish sauce in 2013. With certificates of origin, Vietnam is able to export Phu Quoc fish sauce to many markets including Australia, Canada and the US.

Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Vu Tien Loc said Hanoi authorities were doing well to improve the situation by improving policies and connecting businesses. Quality, food hygiene and price are always more important than quantity, he said.

During the visit to New Zealand, deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Binh Minh called for stronger trade ties. New Zealand promised to co-operate in speeding up the assessment of risks to Vietnamese agricultural products, which will help Vietnamese products access the New Zealand market.

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