Tuesday September 28, 2021

Pakistan to challenge Indian claim of GI tag on basmati rice in EU

October 06, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has decided to oppose India’s claim of Geographical Indication (GI) tag to basmati rice in the European Union (EU). A Pakistani legal team will file its formal opposition with the EU with proof that Indian claims did not have solid grounds.

This was decided during a meeting chaired by Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser for Prime Minister on Commerce. The meeting was attended by secretary commerce, chairman Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO-Pakistan), representatives of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) and legal fraternity.

During the meeting, REAP representatives were of the view that Pakistan is a major grower and producer of basmati rice and India’s claim for exclusivity is unjustified. Abdul Razak Dawood categorically stated that Pakistan will vehemently oppose India’s application in the European Union and restrain India from obtaining exclusive GI tag of basmati rice.

Abdul Razak Dawood supported the concerns of REAP and relevant stakeholders and ensured that their claim for basmati rice as GI will be protected. It is pertinent to mention that India submitted an application with the European Union claiming sole ownership of basmati rice, falsely misrepresenting its exclusivity.

Official sources said that India had applied for GI Tag in EU for basmati rice under article 50(2) (a) of EU Regulations No. 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the council on quality scheme for agriculture products on September 11. India in its application had falsely claimed basmati rice as an Indian origin despite the fact that the same rice is largely produced in Pakistan. Pakistan exports 500,000 to 700,000 tons of basmati rice to different parts of the world out of which 200,000 to 250,000 tons are being shipped to EU countries. It is also a fact that EU Regulation No 972/2006 of June 29, 2006 laying down special rules for import of basmati rice for determining their origin had recognised basmati as a joint product of Pakistan and India.

But now India was making claims of exclusivity on basmati rice in the EU. According to laid down rules and procedures, any country can oppose the application for registration of an AME pursuant to Article 10 and Article 50(2)(a) of the regulation number 1151 (2012). There is a time limit of three months to file an application against it, so now Pakistan has decided to file an application for opposing the right of exclusivity of India on basmati rice GI tag.