A group from the Thai business community in Cambodia has urged the government to crack down on those selling counterfeits of products made in Thailand in the Kingdom.
The call on Thursday came during a workshop on Countering Counterfeit Products jointly organised by the Royal Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh and Thai Business Council in Cambodia (TBCC) in collaboration with the Interior Ministry’s Counter Counterfeit Committee (CCCC).
The Thai business community in Cambodia has noticed that imitations of some of their products are being distributed in the market.
Panyarak Poolthup, Thailand’s Ambassador to Cambodia, said the workshop was aimed at raising awareness on rules and regulation against anti fake goods with the help of CCCC.
“This workshop is very important and timely so that we can work closely with the CCCC to help identify the proper channels to counter counterfeit products,” he told a group of reporters after the event.
“We have received inputs from Thai businesspeople that we should organise this kind of workshop with the CCCC’s help to provide information on regulations aimed to combat fake goods,” Mr Poolthup said. “They [Thai businesspeople] have found some imitations of Thai products in the market, so they need both the Cambodian and Thailand governments to tackle this problem.”
He said that he believes that concrete measures, adhering to international standards, taken to crackdown on the crime would raise investor confidence, especially among Thai businesses, who will seek to bring in more Thai products for local consumers.
Thailand has invested lots in Cambodia and ranks at ninth in term of foreign direct investment in the Kingdom, Mr Poolthup noted.
General Meach Sophana, CCCC president, said at the workshop that both countries’ governments have collaborated to crack down on any form of production, distribution and sales of any items that violate ‘Intellectual Property’ right.
“It is not just about Thai business interests here in Cambodia, but it also benefits our country as a whole,” he said, noting that fake goods could potentially harm consumers. “The government’s effort is to ensure that all kind of products distributed in the market bring genuine benefits, especially those related to the health of consumers.”
Gen Sophana added that genuine products which are trademarked need to be protected.
When asked whether crackdowns have reduced the sale of counterfeit products in the Kingdom, he said more cases are being uncovered because of redoubled efforts.
“We cannot make any conclusion right now about whether cases are declining or increasing, but we will increase our crackdowns on such goods to protect people’s health and well-being,” Gen Sophana noted.
A CCCC report showed that the crackdowns last year uncovered 20 cases of counterfeit products being sold in the Kingdom and the fake goods were mostly medicine, poor quality foodstuff, cosmetics containing toxic chemicals and other trademark violations.
In March this year, the committee destroyed more than 70 tonnes of various counterfeit products, including different types of medicines and other items.
Global projections by the World Health Organization (WHO) have put total sales of counterfeit or substandard medication at roughly $30.5 billion, South East Asia Globe reported last week.
Southeast Asia’s fake medicine industry is but a fragment of a vast underground bazaar, with the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reporting this year that black market sales in contraband such as knock-off handbags, watches and electronics across Southeast Asia generate somewhere between $33.8 and $35.9 billion a year, the report noted.
During Thursday’s workshop, Cambodian authorities held sessions with the Thai participants regarding trade mark registration and urged businesses to register their brands at the Ministry of Commerce to ensure their products are protected.
Participants were also advised on how to file complaints about fake goods and informed about strategies to combat counterfeits.
Cambodia and Thailand have pledged on multiple occasions to increase bilateral trade to $15 billion a year by 2020. Bilateral trade between the countries increased by 7 percent year-on-year in H1, reaching roughly $4.1 billion.
From January to June, Cambodian exports to its neighbour amounted to $685 million, a whopping 52 percent hike. By contrast, imports from Thailand rose by just 1 percent to reach $3.4 billion.