Pakistan challenges India’s bid for basmati GI tag

Published December 11, 2020
Pakistan produces for 35pc of the international trade in basmati, which fetches around $800 million to $1billion in exports annually for the country. — Reuters/File
Pakistan produces for 35pc of the international trade in basmati, which fetches around $800 million to $1billion in exports annually for the country. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) Pakistan has filed an application against India’s bid to obtain exclusive Geographical Indication (GI) tag for basmati rice in the European Union (EU).

IPO Pakistan has filed the opposition under Article 51 of the Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 through a Brussels-based international law firm.

Commerce adviser Abdul Razak Dawood confirmed the development in a tweet late on Wednesday night. He assured rice exporters that the government would defend the case with due diligence and commitment.

“I wish to inform that Pakistan has filed its opposition against the Indian application to European Commission for granting exclusive rights on the use of Basmati for its rice exports to European Union (EU). We assure the rice community that we will, defend our case with due diligence and commitment,” Mr Dawood said in a tweet.

While India accounts for 65 per cent of the international trade in basmati, Pakistan produces for the remaining 35pc, which fetches around $800 million to $1billion in exports annually for the country.

An official of the IPO said under the European Commission’s rule, opposition to any application — once published in its official journal — needs to be filed within a period of three months. Pakistan has filed the application two days ahead of the deadline of December 11, the official explained.

“The commission will then have another two months to invite the authority or person that lodged the opposition to engage in appropriate consultations within a three-month time frame,” he added.

India had applied for the GI tag for basmati under Article 50(2)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and Council on Quality Schemes for Agricultural Products and Foodstuffs, mentioned in the EU official journal dated Sept 11.

However, the Pakistani government had decided to oppose the application demanding exclusive rights of claiming a GI tag to basmati rice in the EU on Sept 22.

The protection of geographical indications helps a country boost its exports, support rural development, and enhance the livelihood of agriculture producers and skilled craftsmen. The marketing of GI products also enhances secondary economic activities to boosts regional economic development.

The GI law protects local Pakistani products such as the Peshawari chappals, Multani blue pottery, Hunza apricots, Hala ajrak, Kasuri methi, Chaman grapes, Turbat dates etc.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2020

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