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‘Phnom Penh’ noodles under scrutiny

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Nam Vang Noodles, with an image of Angkor Wat on the packaging, were found recently on sale in the US. FACEBOOK

‘Phnom Penh’ noodles under scrutiny

Two Cambodian ministries are investigating the Nam Vang Noodle brand which uses a picture of Cambodia’s iconic temple Angkor Wat on its product packaging and has been seen in stores in the US.

The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts told The Post on August 22 that the noodle company was using the name of Phnom Penh (Nam Vang in Vietnamese) and the image of Angkor Wat on its products without permission. It is working with the Ministry of Commerce to investigate the matter and possibly seek legal remedies.

Culture ministry spokesman Long Ponnasirivath said the APSARA National Authority (ANA), a body tasked with managing the Angkor Archaeological Park, had never heard of this brand of noodles until recently.

According to Ponnasirivath, if the commerce ministry determines that there is real actionable fraud taking place, the ministry will file complaints with international institutions related to trade and the counterfeiting of products and use of country identity on product labels.

He said under the Paris Convention, member states are obligated to provide protections against unfair competition.

“I have sent this document to the [commerce ministry], so we will need to wait for one or two days,” he said.

Commerce ministry spokesman Pen Sovicheat said he had not yet received the information as the documents arrived over the weekend and it was too early for him to comment on what the ministry would decide.

He said, however, that if there is a case of fraudulently using the national identity of Cambodia without permission, the commerce ministry would take legal action.

“If there is a violation of a registered trademark or a violation of a national symbol, we must take action. But in this case we do not have the information and do not know who used it. So, please wait until Monday to see if there is progress on the case,” he said.

According to Sovicheat, over the years the commerce ministry has taken legal action against manufacturers of goods sold in foreign markets that were using Angkor Wat on their product packaging without permission.

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