The European Union has officially recognized Cambodia’s Kampong Speu palm sugar as a protected product, the second such product from Cambodia to be granted the status.
In a letter from the European Commission on April 2, the body announced Kampong Speu sugar would join Kampot pepper in holding protected geographical indications (GI) status.
The letter showed Swiss and Belgian companies raised opposition to the motion, which was initiated by Cambodia in 2017. Switzerland's Sucre Suisse SA argued that the description of palm sugar did not meet the EU definition, while Belgian opposition was withdrawn without explanation.
“Kampong Speu palm sugar of Cambodia is officially registered as protected geographical indications and acknowledged by the European Union on April 2, 2019. This is the second geographical product of Cambodia after Kampot pepper, which was registered as protected geographical indications by the European Union in February 2016,” read a statement from sugar producer Confirel.
Hym Piseth, deputy director of Confirel, said the registration would help bolster sugar production and sales in Europe and elsewhere.
Som Saroeun, president of the Kampong Speu Palm Sugar Promotion Association, agreed, saying the recognition would fetch higher prices for GI sugar on international markets.
Seang Thay, a commerce spokesman, said the official designation of GI status would also increase the perception of quality among international buyers of Cambodian sugar.
“Products that are not authentic, when they forge the product with the [GI] logo, sooner or later, the buyers will look for the real one,” he said.