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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Thailand Acts to Preserve Cultural Designs Amid Imported Imitations

In a bid to protect its cultural heritage and uphold the integrity of its “Thai soft power” campaign, the Thai government, led by Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai, has instructed the Customs Department to implement stringent measures to curb the influx of inexpensive trousers adorned with traditional Thai cat and elephant patterns.

The directive, a response to rising concerns over the quality and potential copyright infringement of these imports, highlights Thailand’s commitment to preserving its distinctive designs. This move comes as part of broader efforts to safeguard the nation’s cultural identity and maintain control over its intellectual property.

The issue gained prominence following inquiries from reporters to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin. These inquiries revealed that the imported trousers, often referred to as “elephant pants” and favored by tourists, not only lack the exact copyrighted designs but also fall short in terms of quality when compared to the authentic Thai products. The trousers in question are predominantly manufactured in Chiang Mai province and are renowned for their comfortable and loose fit.

The Ministry of Commerce, spearheading the government’s response, has taken proactive steps to safeguard the original designs. This includes the formal process of copyrighting the distinctive patterns within Thailand’s legal framework. Simultaneously, an investigation has been initiated to gauge the extent of counterfeit distribution within the country.

To fortify its defenses, the government is recommending stricter customs checks on imports originating from specific countries known for producing these imitation trousers. Additionally, initiatives are underway to encourage local manufacturers to prominently label their genuine products with “Made in Thailand” logos. This measure aims to aid consumers in distinguishing authentic items from potentially substandard and infringing alternatives.

In response to the government’s actions, local manufacturers have expressed confidence in the superior quality and diversity of their genuine products. Despite the proliferation of cheaper alternatives in various markets in Bangkok, these manufacturers remain steadfast in their commitment to delivering products that uphold the rich cultural traditions of Thailand. The official directive underscores the government’s dedication to preserving its cultural heritage, ensuring fair competition in the marketplace, and fostering a climate that prioritizes the authenticity of Thai products.

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