KATHMANDU, Nov 23: A high-level taskforce has decided to recommend the government to register international trademark of Nepali hand-knotted woolen carpet to protect originality and assure global buyers on quality of Nepali exports.
The taskforce headed by Chandra Kumar Ghimire, joint secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS), which has finalized its recommendations for enhancing competitiveness and reclaiming the market of downturn carpet export, has cited registration of collective trademark for Nepali products as one of the key steps in giving new boost to its trade.
“We are submitting the report to Nepal Business Forum soon,” Ghimire told Republica on Monday.
The recommendation of the taskforce goes in line with the recent steps taken by pashmina and coffee producers. While pashmina manufacturers have already registered their international trademark -- Chyangra Pashmina -- in more than two dozen countries, the trademark of Nepali coffee was registered with the government about a week ago.
The taskforce, which has representatives from carpet manufacturers and exporters association, pashmina manufacturers, wool producers and Trade and Export Promotion Center, is also recommending the producers and exporters to work out identification, features and definitions of Nepali carpet´s collective trademark.
“We will recommend the government to allow the carpet entrepreneurs take the leadership role. We will suggest the government to play a catalytic role,” Ghimire added.
The panel is also suggesting the government to put in place a separate mechanism to issue trademark stickers to exporters and Certificate of Origin (CO). It will propose the government to operate the mechanism with public private partnership approach.
"The new mechanism should define quality of Nepali carpets, function as quality control body and enforce strict norms on issuance of stickers, so that customers can be assured on the quality of the product," said a member of the task force.
The taskforce is also strongly pushing for the establishment of laboratory to accredit the standard of the manufacturing products, including carpet. Apart from that, it is also pushing the government, manufacturers and exporters to work together to check export of substandard carpet products by neighboring countries in the name of Nepali hand-woven carpet.
As Nepali hand-knotted carpet has its own niche market in Europe and US, traders said more Indian carpets are finding way into the international markets under the label of Indo-Nepal Carpet. While these products are of substandard quality, those are not only displacing Nepali exports but also denting the image of Nepali product.
Exports of Nepali hand-knotted carpet dropped from 3.3 million square meters during the 1993/94 to 780,000 square meters during 2009/10.
Meanwhile, the process to register trademark has slowed as different associations of carpet producers are yet to forge consensus on whether or not register the trademark with the government.
Surendra Dhakal, CEO of Carpet Exporters´ Association, said registration of trademark alone will have no meaning unless the quality of Nepali carpet is enhanced. “There should be some value addition after the registration of trademark, otherwise we can´t benefit from it,” Dhakal added.