Saturday, March 6, 2021

Pakistan gets its first Geographical Indicator (GI) tag for basmati rice, beating India

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Pakistan has reportedly won the Geographical Indicator (GI) for basmati rice. It had registered its GI for basmati rice in 2020 after India had falsely claimed its produce of basmati rice to be original in an attempt to hinder Pakistan’s trade in the European Union (EU). According to reports, Pakistan’s GI tag was approved by the EU yesterday, on 26th January.

Meesaq Arif, the Executive Director of Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO), took to Twitter to break the news and congratulate Pakistan for getting its first-ever GI tag.

Read more: Pakistani businessmen puzzled as EU approves plea stating basmati rice is ‘Indian-origin’ product

“Congratulation Pakistan, A landmark achievement in the field of Intellectual Property Geographical Indication. TDAP has been granted BASMATI Rice Geographical Indication Tag by GI Registry (IPO), the first-ever GI in Pakistan. Keep up IPO, Ministry of Commerce,” read Mr. Arif’s tweet.

The Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has made laudable contributions to this achievement. It had formulated trade regulations and rules for basmati rice, educated producers in terms of business as to how basmati rice should be sold overseas via merchants. After its guidance, a report was sent to the relevant authorities of the basmati rice’s production and distribution, which lead to Pakistan winning its first GI tag, rebutting India’s false claims.

Read more: Advisor to the Prime Minister Abdul Razak Dawood shares prospect of salt being registered as a GI

REAP is also responsible for exporting basmati rice internationally. It was approached by relevant authorities ahead of Pakistan’s victory, to get information about the history, trade, and region of basmati rice in the country.

The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) was given the task of registering all the merchant profiles and trade routes and with the Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO). IPO in collaboration with REAP and the Rice Research Institution Kala Shah Kalu, located all the places where the rice is grown, following standard procedures.

Read more: Pakistan challenges India on the trade front

In September 2020, India had applied for an exclusive GI tag for Basmati rice in the European Union (EU). The EU had approved India’s application in its official journal, and then claimed basmati rice as an Indian origin product, even though the same rice is produced in Pakistan on a large scale.

Ministry of Commerce officials, when contacted, were unaware of this groundbreaking development which could immensely damage Pakistan’s exports to European countries, Basmati rice being a case in point. Abdul Razak Dawood adviser to the Prime Minister (PM) on Commerce had earlier in August 2020 directed officials to implement and apply the GI as the law had been implemented during the start of 2020.

India, to support its claim of exclusivity, had referred to various reports and dictionaries to show that the basmati rice is of Indian origin and conveniently left out the part that the same rice is widely produced in Pakistan.

Read more: Op-ed: Focus on export, FDI requires paradigm shift in Pakistan’s foreign policy

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