Cambodia on Monday asked Thai authorities to intervene to halt sales of Thai rice products that use Angkor Wat in their branding.
Rice packages exported from Thailand were recently seen for sale in Montreal, Canada, with a logo in the form of the ancient temple of Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s national symbol.
The issue has angered Cambodian consumers and producers, who say it is disrespectful to use the national symbol of Cambodia to promote products from third countries, and that the practice has the potential to hurt sales for Cambodian companies.
On Monday, Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak asked Panyarak Poolthup, the Thai Ambassador, to take “strict” measures to stop Thai companies from using Angkor Wat in any type of branding, and to take any Thai products that feature Angkor Wat in their package off the market, according to a statement from the Ministry of Commerce.
“In response, the Thai Ambassador said Thailand will cooperate with Canadian authorities and relevant stakeholders to prevent the exportation of rice products that have images of Angkor Wat in the package,” the statement said.
Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice, said it was important to take action in the matter, and urged the Cambodian and Thai governments to work together to locate the company that created the Angkor Wat-branded products.
“We welcome the intervention of the Cambodian government, and hope they can find the source of these misleading products,” Mr Saran said.
“In my opinion, Cambodian products should have a special label or code to differentiate them in the international market. Products that do not have the label would be considered illegal.
“Prevention is better than cure,” he said.