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EU to deliberate on GI status for palm sugar

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
Kampong speu palm sugar is one of Cambodia’s most popular products overseas. Supplied

Palm sugar from Kampong Speu could become the second Cambodian product to be awarded geographical indication (GI) status by the European Union, with Brussels due to issue a final decision on the subject no later than April.

Sok Sarang, an advisor to the Kampong Speu Palm Sugar Promotion Association (KSPSPA), told Khmer Times yesterday that the registration process of the province’s famous palm sugar as a GI product is nearing the end, and that the EU will make an official announcement on the subject in upcoming months.

“We have reached the final stage. They will announce the registration of palm sugar as a GI product in early 2018,” he said.

On February 18, 2017, Kampot pepper became the first Cambodian product to receive GI certification from the EU. This means that any product sold in EU countries calling itself “Kampot pepper” must come from a designated region that includes Kampot and neighbouring Kep province.

Mr Sarang explained that attaining GI status could prove key in boosting sales of Kampong Speu palm sugar in the European market.

“The registration in the EU will help reduce counterfeit products and build trust among consumers,” Mr Sarang said, adding that he believes Brussels’ verdict will be positive.

Op Rady, the director of intellectual property at the Ministry of Commerce, told Khmer Times that if there are no issues in the registration process, the EU should declare Kampong Speu palm sugar a GI product before April.

“An announcement will be made to all relevant parties within three months,” he said. “We don’t have any reason to believe the bid will not be successful,” he said.

Sam Saroeun, the president of KSPSPA, said production of palm sugar at his association grew by 20 percent in 2017, reaching a total of 200 tonnes.

“EU recognition of our product as GI will further boost this production,” he said. “It will also reduce farmer migration and increase the price of the product internationally.

“Getting a GI label is great news for the sector. It will help us fight against fake palm sugar,” Mr Saroeun said.

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