Cambodia’s Intellectual Property Rights forum 2018, a conference on IP protection took place last month. Driven by European companies facing fake and parallel imports the aim was to discuss product issues relating to public health/safety and foreign investment. Industries identified as affected include pharmaceutical, automotive and food and beverages. A large household goods company said that illegal products hurt their bottom line by 15-20% per year. A beverages company expressed concerns about smuggled or parallel products imported from Thailand. A pharma company said that parallel imports were the major threat. Lost taxes were repeatedly cited. Cambodia has a well-documented smuggling problem which contributes to the market distortions in the region. As a result counterfeiting can become a little lost in the issue of parallel imports.
Mr Op Rady, director of the IP Office in the Ministry of Commerce, explained some of the challenges: low IP awareness; limited resources and low official budgets. The Counter Counterfeit Committee of Cambodia advocated for better cooperation, information sharing and product/brand training. They provided examples of pharma and cosmetics actions they took in the last year.
Cambodia is turning its attention to the issue of fake goods. The country’s parallel goods and other problems are also significant.