EU ambassador supports launch of Mindanao collective trademark
DAVAO CITY, June 19 (PIA) - Reaffirming the European Union’s (EU) commitment to promote and expand domestic and international markets for Mindanao products, EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen will grace the launch of the Mindanao Collective Trademark (MCT), a system designed to enhance the competitiveness of products originating from Mindanao.
The MCT launch, slated for Tuesday at the Park Inn by Radisson Hotel here in the city will officially unveil the MCT logo that will become the distinct mark of quality products coming from the island-region.
Ambassador Jessen is expected to keynote the event that will gather key government officials, top business players, chief local executives and private sector representatives from across the region.
“The participation of the ambassador during MCT launch sends a strong signal of EU’s interest to enhance trading with the Philippines, giving particular attention to high-quality products from Mindanao,” said Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, chair of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).
She added that EU-Philippines through its Trade Related Technical Assistance Project 3 (TRTA3) supported MinDA in the development of the trademark in line with its efforts to contribute to the country’s integration into the international and regional trading and investment system.
MinDA is the lead agency in the implementation of the MCT system, as part of its mandate to increase trade and investments and boost the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Mindanao.
“Once fully utilized, the MCT will give Mindanao agri-products a certain distinction in the global market where standards on good agricultural practices, organic farming, single origin, are given premium consideration among discerning buyers,” Antonino added.
The MCT is a collective trademark that will function as a certification trademark. Certification trademarks are owned by an organization who would allow for its use by companies that comply with the rules and standards defined by the owner of that particular certification mark. A collective trademark on the other hand is used by particular members of the organization that owns it.
In the case of the MCT, it aims to improve the competitiveness of the products originating from the island-region through alignment with internationally recognized Voluntary Standards (VS) which guarantee sound management practices, traceability, and sustainability.
“In the global markets, where commodities converge and compete, there is a growing preference among buyers for information on their sources,” said Antonino while adding “aside from scale, quality, and delivery, consumers also want to know the origin of the products that they are buying.”
The introduction of the MCT system strategically fits into the Mindanao agri development agenda put forward by the economic agenda of incoming administration.
Through the TRTA 3, the EU is assisting in developing and enhancing the systems and procedures of the Intellectual Property of the Philippines in the promotion, protection and registration of Geographical Indications and Collective Marks, among many others. It is a program funded by the EU in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry.
In the past three years, organic products from Mindanao have been aggressively penetrating the EU market through international trade fairs and exhibits. At the 2014 Biofach Organic Fair, the world’s leading trade fair for organic food products in Nuremberg, Germany, products from Mindanao such as the organic black rice and coco sugar earned international attention.
Bios Dynamis, an organic rice producer popular for its sought-after organic black rice, and the TreeLife coco sugar from the town of Carmen in North Cotabato showcased Mindanao-grown organic products during the four-day international exhibit, which was attended by more than 42,000 trade visitors from 135 countries.
“Success stories like these need to be sustained and replicated, and we aim to achieve more of these through the MCT system,” said Antonino while adding “we hope to see many of our local producers and manufacturers conquer the international market while carrying the distinct Mindanao trademark.”
A Knowledge Center on Voluntary Standards and Best Management Practices will be established to will encourage the MCT beneficiaries to adopt to their VS of interest and eventual use of the trademark. The center will be hosted by MINDA and will compose networks of experts from the academe and the private sector who have extensive experience in various voluntary standards.
Collective trademarks are similar systems used by collective quality labels in Europe that due to these distinct labels, products are preferred by consumers. Products that carry collective quality labels in Europe are currently generating revenues of more than P2.6 trillion annually and make up about 15 percent of all European food and beverage exports. (MinDA/PIA-Caraga)