KARACHI: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has expressed concern over a long delay in implementation of Geographical Indication (GI) Protection Law.

GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and has qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.

In a statement issued on Friday, Senior Vice President of FPCCI Shaikh Khalid Tawab said that in the absence the law, drafted in 2001, Pakistani products have failed to fetch good prices in the world market.

“Our neighbouring country India implemented this law in 2003 and has protected 220 products,” he added.

Pakistan was facing tough competition from India, he said, pointing out that Pakistan had already lost the market of basmati rice to India due to geographical indication.

Some of the Pakistani goods that could immediately come under GI protection are Sindhri mangoes, kinno, green cardamom, Khairpur Aseel dates, Hunza apricot, Multani Mitti, Hala handicrafts, Khanpur oranges, Kasuri methi, Chiniot furniture, Sahiwal cows and buffalos, Sindhi Ajrak and cap, etc.

“GI protection is a sort of intellectual property right. It helps in sustained earning in exports,” Mr Tawab explained.

The geographical indication, he said, has assumed greater importance with its inclusion in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, an international agreement administered by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that sets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property regulation as applied to nationals of other WTO members

He urged the government to implement the law as soon as possible and hold awareness programmes for traders, industrialists and farmers for registration and protection of their products.

Published in Dawn September 17th, 2016

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