Pakistan has received the Geographical Indicator (GI) tag for its Basmati, paving the way for creating a local registry for the particular strain of rice and making a case in the international market, as the country fights a case in the EU against India’s move to get Basmati rice registered as its product.
A GI tag is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess origin-based qualities and reputation in the region.
Pakistan is fighting a case in the 27-member European Union against India’s move to get Basmati rice registered as its product.
Laws require that before applying for registration of any product in the international market it has to be protected under the geographical indication laws of that country.
A top Pakistan official said on Tuesday that the country had received the Geographical Indicator tag for its Basmati.
“I am glad to inform you that Pakistan has registered Basmati Rice as a Geographical Indication under the Geographical Indications Act 2020. Under this Act, a GI registry has been formed which will register GIs and maintain the basic record of proprietors and authorised users of GI,” Commerce Advisor Abdul Razak Dawood announced on Twitter.
This will provide protection of our products against misuse or imitation & hence will guarantee that their share in int’l market is protected. I encourage you to send your suggestions of products that can be registered as GIs to Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan. 2/2
— Abdul Razak Dawood (@razak_dawood) January 27, 2021
“This will provide protection of our products against misuse or imitation and hence will guarantee that their share in the international market is protected. I encourage you to send your suggestions of products that can be registered as GIs to the Intellectual Property Organisation of Pakistan,” he said.
It is believed that a GI tag would strengthen Pakistan’s case in the EU. The issue of protecting Basmati rice as a product of Pakistan came to the forefront after India submitted an application to the European Union claiming sole ownership of the commodity in September last year.
In its application, India claimed that “Basmati” is special long grain aromatic rice grown and produced in a particular geographical region of the subcontinent.
After highlighting the brief history of Basmati rice, India also claimed that the region is a part of northern India, below the foothills of the Himalayas forming part of the Indo-Gangetic plain.
The Indian claim to the EU was challenged in December and the main argument by Pakistan was that Basmati rice was a joint product of India and Pakistan.
Pakistan exported 500,000-700,000 tonnes of Basmati rice annually to different parts of the world out of which 200,000 tonnes to 250,000 tonnes is being shipped to EU countries.