Local products can now be branded as Cypriot-made. After a year of work, consultations, and procedures, as well as research into international examples, a new brand name for Cypriot products has been developed: Cyprus Made - Unique by origin.
The unified trademark applies not only to PDO and PGI products, but also to handicrafts such as embroidery, weaving, ceramics, woodworking, silversmithing, and pharmaceuticals, plastics, metalwork, cosmetics, and toys. However, before the trademark can be used and sold, another process must be completed, namely the registration of the trademark with the Registrar of Companies. This should be finished within the next three months.
A similar label could be used specifically for tourism and catering services, according to some.
In parallel with this process, applications from interested companies will be accepted. According to the Ministry of Commerce, the first products bearing the Cyprus Made label are expected to hit the market in early 2023. The Ministry's goal is for the mark and slogan to give our products an additional status as authentically Cypriot and to benefit from the Ministry's promotional efforts, with the goal of opening up new markets, strengthening Cypriot products' positions in existing ones, and increasing exports.
Halloumi and loukoumi
The mark is optional and is assigned to companies that want to use it or affix it to their packaging. The process will begin with certified industrial and agricultural products - PDO and PGI. It is specifically about halloumi, which is already certified as a product with a protected designation of origin, as well as Geroskipou almond confectionery, Geroskipou loukoumi, Agros' sweet rose, sausage, ham, Pitsilia's Lunch, and Chimila pasta, which bear the protected geographical indication mark. The olive oil and honey come next. Later, the Ministry of Agriculture will be able to co-own the mark and use the logo to identify agricultural products.
In addition, services
Although it is a more difficult task, the Ministry is enthusiastic about awarding accreditation to services provided, which is already done in other countries. During stakeholder consultations, it appears that suggestions were made to use a similar mark specifically for tourism and food services, as well as consulting and legal services. In any case, this will be addressed at a later time. The success of the effort for material products is required for the second part of the brand name implementation. "If we get proposals from the business world, they have to want it," Ms. Patsali explained.
Another trademark for wine
The National trademark may be extended to other product categories, such as agricultural and processed agricultural products (agri-food, wine), as well as the service sector, in the future. Other procedures for enhancing the Cypriot label are known to be running in parallel in the case of Cypriot wine. At the level of a group of winemakers, the Cyprus Wine Consortium is close to making an announcement about the quality label that it will adopt. In addition, the Ministry of Commerce is conducting a parallel process to develop a distinct brand name for Cypriot wine, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
A written decision by the Customs Department to issue binding origin information proving the product's Cypriot origin is the basic requirement for a product to carry Cyprus Made on its packaging. The procedure is straightforward; the product's codes are entered on the Customs website, and Customs certifies its origin. According to Panagiota Patsalis, Director of the Trade Department, the online application form and instructions for completing it will be available soon.
The basic conditions also include:
The confirmation that the premises of the company that manufactures the product are located on the Republic of Cyprus's territory.
Proof that the product has been manufactured for at least the last 12 months.
The company's certificate of incorporation from the Registrar of Companies.
A certificate issued by a competent authority stating that the applicant is not bankrupt, is not in reorganization or closing up shop, is not under compulsory administration by a liquidator or a court, is not the subject of an arrangement with creditors, is not in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for in national legislation or regulations.
A declaration that the products comply with Cypriot, European, and international legislation, particularly in terms of production, standardization, and distribution, as well as hygiene and safety during use and consumption.
Cyprus Made's website
Following the creation of a dedicated halloumi website, halloumi.cy, the Ministry of Commerce appears to have chosen a similar approach to promote and advertise Cyprus Made. This is the website cyprusmade.gov.cy, which has been open to the public for a few days. It currently contains some basic information about the brand name, and new information will be added soon, as well as an application form that interested parties will submit. This will be done as soon as Cyprus Made's registration with the company registrar is completed. Companies will be able to begin using the brand for advertising purposes, on the website, and on company documents (letterheads, envelopes, catalogs, invoices, promotional material) once the registration is complete when these are directly related to the products for which it has been licensed.
It requires improvement
The initial promotional budget is 400 thousand euros for the two years 2023-2024 for actions related to brand promotion and consolidation, and it varies depending on the offers and actions chosen. The emphasis will be on brand promotion, which will be accomplished through social media and the media, but initially through direct contact with companies. This will be accomplished through meetings with OEB and KEBE, as well as the launch of a brand promotion campaign to interested businesses. According to Ms. Patsali's initial assessment of the situation, there appears to be a lot of interest and a positive response from businesses. The way each company individually declared its Cypriot origin on product packaging should be phased out in favor of a single brand name. Best practices from other countries have shown that this contributes to the recognition of the product's authenticity. The brand's market consolidation is just as important as its adoption. In this context, the 14 trade centers operating abroad will also promote this brand by participating in foreign exhibitions with Cyprus and its products. Of course, consumer recognition of quality necessitates work, and the consolidation of any branding takes time and numerous promotional activities. It is now necessary to adopt and consolidate the new visual identity. This is the current effort's goal, in order to increase the sales of products bearing the brand.
[This article was translated from its Greek original]