To penetrate the premium market and increase exports of Brand Bhutan products, the Department of Trade (DoT) in collaboration with Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) launched the export diversification under Brand Bhutan project in Thimphu yesterday.
The project is a new Tier II project under the EIF initiative in Bhutan.
The project aims to diversify and market the exports through the promotion of high value, low volume Bhutanese products in the high-end markets. Besides, the project will promote a minimum of 18 potential products for export.
The project was expected to enhance capacity building and contribute towards job creation and poverty reduction in the country.
Economic affairs minister, Loknath Sharma said that owing to Bhutan’s small scale economy, high transportation costs and scarce resources, the local products and services failed to find space in the international market.
Lyonpo said that the products were less competitive in the international market because of high prices and quality. “Therefore, we need a brand to target the high-end market.”
The concept of Brand Bhutan began four years ago, however, the strategy was not operationalised due to limited budget and human resources.
The Economic Development Policy, 2016 identified developing “Brand Bhutan” in natural resources, tourism, culture, handicrafts, textiles, and agro-products as one of the economic opportunities for Bhutan.
Recognising the importance of branding, trade officials said that many interested producers’ proposed using Brand Bhutan on their products. But, due to the lack of rules and regulations and criteria for branding products, the department was unable to proceed with the licensing.
“However, through the project, the framework and human resources required for the implementation of Brand Bhutan will be in place,” the officials said.
Lyonpo said that the launch of export diversification programme under Brand Bhutan would complement the activities that are already carried out under the flagship programme.
The Brand Bhutan concept is implemented under the CSI and Start-up flagship Programme.
The People Data Hub and One-Stop-Shop Information Centre system was also launched.
The data hubs are expected to improve service delivery through improved data and information on digital platforms for individual, businesses, and government agencies.
The total project cost is USD 1.575 Million (M). Of that, EIF funded USD 1.5M and the government supplemented the remaining fund.