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KARACHI: Trade Development Authority of Pakistan received the geographical indication (GI) registration tag from IPO for Basmati rice on January 26, 2021. This is the first ever product in the history of Pakistan which got G.I Indication registration from IPO.

Federal Government nominated Trade Development Authority of Pakistan as Registrant body for G.I of Basmati Rice under section 11(2) of Geographical Indication (Registration and Protection) Act, 2020. Under this Act, a GI registry has been formed, which will register the GI and maintain basic record of properties and authorised users. This will provide protection to our products against misuse or imitation, hence, will guarantee that their share in the international market is protected.

Trade Development Authority had organized series of consultative sessions with all the stakeholders including Reap, PARC, Agriculture Departments of Sindh, Punjab, KPK and Balochistan. On the basis of these consultative sessions a book of specification has been drafted which is the most important document that lays down the criteria of characteristics for Basmati rice, which should be followed by producers or operators in Pakistan if they desire to obtain a license to use this name.A consensus was also developed in these sessions among all stakeholders regarding mapping of geographical areas where Basmati Rice is grown.

Pakistan exports around 400,000 -600,000 tons of basmati rice to different parts of the world out of which 200,000 to 250,000 tons are being shipped to EU countries. India in its application for GI Tag in EU for basmati had falsely claimed basmati rice as an Indian origin despite the fact that the same rice is largely produced in Pakistan.

Pakistan has challenged the Indian claim and had filed its opposition against Indian application under Article 51 of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 through a Brussels-based international law firm. Registration of GI tag for Basmati in Pakistan by Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, will strengthen our case against India in the EU and will also increase the exports of basmati Rice from Pakistan.—PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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