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Chiang Rai has made progressive steps in using Geographic Indications (GI’s) adding economic value to local products and expanding the market access of its agricultural products, including processed agricultural products to foreign markets. However, it was found that the use of GI as a tool to promote local development in Chiang Rai was not as successful as it should be. Therefore, this research article aims to investigate legal measures to protect agricultural products under GI regimes in Thailand and the EU and the major challenges in obtaining them and proposing possible guidelines. According to this study, it was found that major challenges include a lack of strong integration of people within a community, lack of sufficient knowledge and understanding about GI, lack of a clear and standardised control system to monitor and keep the quality consistent with the specifications, as well as lack of appropriate and adequate budget and experts in GI protection.
Thus, to help promote GI protection of agricultural products in Chiang Rai, policy recommendations have been proposed as follows. Firstly, with the support from the government agencies, community leaders should be created in order to promote local products with unique quality to be protected as GIs Secondly, sufficient knowledge and understanding in GI, as well as its benefits should be provided to all stakeholders, including producers, entrepreneurs, government officers, and consumers through collaboration from relevant agencies from both the public and private sectors. Thirdly, the Thai Geographical Indication Protection Act B.E. 2546 (2003) should be amended to provide the control system that is consistent with the EU standard in order to certify the quality of the Thai GI products. Lastly, sufficient budget and GI experts should be allocated for the government agencies involved, particularly the Department of Intellectual Property and the Provincial Commercial Office in order to enhance their operational efficiency.
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