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KARACHI: Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has successfully filed the Reasoned Statement in opposition to India’s claim on the Geographical Indicator (GI) tag for Basmati on February 5, 2021.

Filing a Reasoned Statement, submitted in European Union, was the second step after filing the Notice of Opposition initially on December 7, 2021. The third step is the cooling off period of three months after which the hearings in DG Agriculture of European Commission will commence.

Filing the Reasoned Statement takes Pakistan one step closer to protecting its trade of Basmati. Since Basmati rice fetch higher prices than non-Basmati rice in international markets, India has attempted to block Pakistan’s trade in EU by registering as the sole owner of Basmati’s GI. Pakistan has opposed this claim to protect its trade of Basmati.

REAP has carried on its reputation of a responsible and effective association by standing up to preserve the heritage of Pakistan.

REAP has taken this step on behalf of rice exporters and farmers of Pakistan who are at the risk of losing a billion-dollars’ worth of income. Pakistan has a thriving industry of export of Basmati, thus making Pakistan one of the top five exporters of rice in the world.

In order to protect Pakistan’s Basmati heritage, REAP has already filed a Notice of Opposition against India’s claim on GI of Basmati Rice in European Union on December 7, 2020.

Pakistani rice exports competitor India had sought protection of Basmati Rice as a GI product in EU in a mala fide attempt to deter Pakistan’s growing export and appreciation of Basmati. Pakistan has a thriving industry of export of Basmati rice, thus making Pakistan one of the top five exporters of rice in the world.

In addition, Pakistan’s export of Basmati to EU has almost doubled in the last five years and it has outpaced India’s exports of the same period, therefore India is using mala fide practices to hit the Pakistan’s rice exports to EU countries and file GI claim in EU.

It may be mentioned here that GI is a sign used on products that have specific origin and it increase the products reputation and developing countries like EU are using GI labelling to boost the value of product. The GI tag is an exclusive right to sell the products in registered markets.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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