Friday, May 8, 2015

End of Prohibition, Salute!
Just few weeks prior to celebrating the Myanmar New Year, On March 18, 2015, the Ministry of Commerce issued Notification No. 18/2015 lifting the ban with respect to the importation of foreign wines. The official reason is "the local market demand and significant influx of foreigners owing to the improving situations of the country". Actually, the welcomed move is aimed at raising tax revenue, reducing the black market trade and giving more control over the distribution of foreign wines.
Under the new notification, importers must have company registration, trading licences and an agreement with the company (e.g wine castle/trader) from which they are importing wines before applying for wine import licences and wine import registration card from the Ministry of Commerce, General Administration Department. The procedure is relatively straightforward.
Once the license and card are granted, importers must comply with various conditions and standards, such as ensuring that the imported wines carry a proper label proving taxes are paid, that the ingredients are listed in English, that the wine is imported only by air or sea, the labels showing the country of origin.
Hotels and duty-free shops will continue to enjoy a loophole allowing them to import wine without a wine import license or card. This has been kept going under recommendation from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
The end or prohibition, comes with a price… the Union Tax Law for the 2015-16 fiscal year has imposed a commercial tax on wine of 50 % in addition to the customs tax of 30 %.
The Notification allowing foreign wine to be legally imported and distributed in Myanmar by entities other than hotel and duty free shops represent a great opportunity in one of the fastest growing economy in South East Asia with a strong interest in wines, producing award-winning wine, such as "Red Mountain" (120,000 bottles per year).
For more information on wines importation and distribution in Myanmar, please contact our Wine Group experts at

Saturday, April 4, 2015


South East Asia - Geographical Indications Mapping

Based on a presentation I gave in Tokyo at INTA conference on geographical indication on 26-27/03/2015.

Most ASEAN nations have taken positions in the ongoing "North-North debates" over the implementation of TRIPS provisions on Geographical Indications. There is a clear and strong trend toward sui generis Geographical Indication protection systems in ASEAN.  This demonstrates the fact that ASEAN member states recognize the need for a specific GI protection system that coexists with trademark regimes.

Major challenges are: 

       Transplantation of international norms into ASEAN member states' legislations;

       After having enacted their own geographical indication legislations, how to build, manage and run an effective protection system of GI products (causal link, reputation, natural and human factors assessment, controls system, traceability, enforcement, sanctions etc) for both agricultural and non agricultural products?

       Role of associations of producers/traders in commercialization of GIs products;

       Strategies for registration of ASEAN based GIs internationally especially in EU.

Leading countries in terms of registered GIs

       Thailand : 64

       Vietnam : 41

       Malaysia : 35

       Indonesia : 25

       Cambodia : 2



  • Most active foreign applicants

       Champagne ("CIVC")

       Cognac ("BNIC")

       Scotch Whisky ("SWA")

       Napa Valley ("NVA")

  •  Cross-ASEAN GI filings.
 there is a rapid growth of ASEAN based GIs obtaining protection in other
ASEAN countries.  Recently the Queen Sirikit Department of Sericulture
and Department of Intellectual Property of Thailand (DIP) filed the Isan 
Indigenous Thai Silk Yarn Geographical Indication in Vietnam. The GI
was filed on August 1st 2013 and was granted registration by the
National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (NOIP) on September
18, 2014 making this product the first intra-regional ASEAN registered GI 

Isan Indigenous Thai Silk Yarn is a unique textile art in terms of elaboration process giving the silk fabric a texture which is smooth, even, soft and shiny. The process relies on Isan people's silk reeling skills which have been passed on from generation to generation and the Silkworms which must be farmed in the Isan region and must be of authentic Thai species which are polyvoltine and resistant to the dry and hot climate of Isan region. The characteristics of the silk yarn are thick, rough, knotty, even in size, clean, unadulterated, darker yellow color and even in color .