LAHORE: The European Commission has accepted the ‘Reasoned Statement’ submitted by the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) against India on Geographical Indication (GI) of Basmati.
The exporters’ body announced on Monday that the statement opposing India’s claim to Basmati rice GI was accepted last Friday (March 5).
The REAP had filed the Reasoned Statement in opposition to India’s claim of GI of Basmati on Feb 5, after sending the Notice of Opposition on Dec 7, 2020.
After reviewing both of these documents, the European Commission has declared the Notice of Opposition and the Reasoned Statement of REAP admissible in the case, it said, adding the acceptance has made REAP a party to the case.
The rice exporters say now they can directly advocate for the protection of Pakistan’s GI rights over Basmati.
With the admissibility of REAP as a party, the case of Pakistan in the EU has reached its third stage where all the contesting parties will engage in consultations with each other. The time period for the parties to engage in negotiations is three months.
In this case, the negotiations will last, tentatively, till May 6, 2021. This is a pre-trial phase, whereby parties are encouraged to reach an amicable solution.
After the consultations are completed and in case no settlement is reached, the fourth stage of trial will commence in the tribunal of DG Agriculture, European Commission.
Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2021