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LAHORE: Pakistan has registered Basmati Rice as Geographical Indication (GI) under Geographical Indications Act 2020.

The registration of Basmati as GI in Pakistan will strengthen the case against India in the European Union, said an announcement by the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) here on Wednesday.

The geographical indications registry certificate was issued by the Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) in the name of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) on Tuesday.

Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce Razzak Dawood in a tweet also announced his pleasure that Pakistan has registered Basmati Rice as Geographical Indication (GI) under Geographical Indications Act 2020. Under this Act, a GI registry has been formed which will register GIs and maintain the basic record of proprietors & authorised users of GI. This will provide protection of our products against misuse or imitation and it will guarantee that their share in international market is protected, his tweet added.

The registration of Basmati as a GI in Pakistan required the cooperation between the public and private sector. The TDAP was designated as a Registrant of Basmati by the federal government. It moved an application to register Basmati to Intellectual Property Organization (IPO) which sought assistance from Rice Research Institute Kala Shah Kaku and REAP. The IPO mapped the regions where Basmati is grown by taking recommendations from all provinces. The process followed by the IPO has been an inclusive one and it brought all the stakeholders on one table. Through intra-provincial and public-private cooperation, Pakistan has obtained the GI tag for its Basmati which will strengthen the case against India in the European Union.

Meanwhile, the REAP claimed that it made major contributions in preparing the Book of Specifications for Basmati laying down the criteria of characteristics for Basmati which needs to be followed by any producer or operator in Pakistan if they desire to obtain the license to use this name.

Since Basmati Rice fetch higher prices than non-Basmati rice in international markets, India has attempted to block Pakistan’s trade in the EU by declaring that its Basmati is the geographically original one. Pakistan has challenged this claim and by registering its own GI for Basmati it will claim the same protection of its Basmati in EU as India.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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