HA NOI (VNS) — The registration of geographical indications (GIs) will not only protect trademarks and consumers but also help Vietnamese goods to penetrate into large markets.
Delphine Marie-Vivien from the Centre for International Co-operation in Agronomic Research (CIRAD) announced at the workshop on Geographical Indications held in Ha Noi yesterday that Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which Viet Nam has been negotiating, will bring both opportunities and challenges, such as trademark disputes, for businesses.
She reported that GI registration in Europe will benefit enterprises in terms of tourism, environment protection and cultural tradition as well as producers.
Specifically, names of countries will be attached to products, thus increasing value-added products.
In addition, GI labelling will also benefit consumers as the products will be ensured in terms of origin, quality and trust.
She stated that Viet Nam had learnt from disputes related to trademarks in foreign countries. She added that GI registration in Europe was necessary in helping enterprises be active in protecting their products in case of disputes.
GI registration report revealed that 14 agricultural trademarks beyond EU region have been granted GI registration including Viet Nam's Phu Quoc Fish Sauce.
Participants at the workshop were told that according to a survey on 16,000 consumers from 1996 to 1999, 43 per cent of European consumers or more than 210 million people were ready to pay an additional 10 per cent for GI products and 8 per cent of consumers were ready to pay 20 per cent, while 3 per cent of consumers were ready to pay 30 per cent.
Director General Tran Trung Thuc, head of the Vietnamese European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) negotiating team, agreed, adding that the open market for other countries would not only reduce and remove tariffs but also property right negotiations, which would create favourable conditions for Vietnamese agricultural and seafood products to enhance exports to European countries in general and EFTA countries in particular.
"Goods standards in EU is high. If Vietnamese goods could ensure the demands, they could have opportunities to reach the world market," Thuc stated.
EFTA includes the four countries of Switzerland, Norway, Ireland and Licktenstein. FTA between Viet Nam and EFTA has undergone seven negotiations.
Experts at the workshop also agreed that signing with EFTA would be a useful tool for FTA between Viet Nam and EU. In addition, it would consolidate legal foundation for economic cooperation as well as access to market for both Vietnamese and European enterprises.
It was of significance that the current taxes on Vietnamese agricultural and food products exported to EFTA had been at a high level with an average rate of 19 per cent.
However, the signing could help Viet Nam sharply increase its exports of industrial, agricultural and food products to the market, as taxes in the block would be reduced to zero.
The reason was that Vietnamese enterprises had paid attention to exports but not to building trade mark.
In addition, the high cost of GI registration had been a barrier for businesses in deciding whether to register, they said. — VNS