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January 28, 2021

IPO awards GI tag for Pakistani Basmati rice

Business

January 28, 2021

LAHORE: The Intellectual Property Organization (IPO) has awarded geographical indication (GI) tag for Basmati rice to the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), following concerted efforts made by the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP).

The tag would strengthen Pakistan’s case against India in the European Union, where India has been trying to block Pakistan’s trade by claiming its Basmati was the geographically original one, REAP spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Commenting on the awarding of GI tag for Basmati, the spokesperson said exporters had made major contributions in preparing the Book of Specifications for Basmati rice. This book laid down the criteria of characteristics for Basmati, which need to be followed by any producer or operator in Pakistan if they desire to obtain the license to use this name.

Since REAP is a trade body which has been involved in exporting Basmati rice to the world, and it is the representative of Pakistan’s exporters of Basmati, it was best suited to offer insight into Basmati trade, characteristics, regions and history, he added.

When REAP was consulted on the matter it provided technical and commercial assistance in preparing the Book of Specifications. REAP’s input was highly appreciated, he maintained.

The registration of Basmati as a GI in Pakistan required the cooperation between the public and private sector.

TDAP was designated as a Registrant of Basmati by the federal government.

TDAP made an application to register Basmati with the IPO.

For processing the case, IPO sought assistance from Rice Research Institute Kala Shah Kaku and REAP. IPO mapped the regions where Basmati rice is grown by taking recommendations from all provinces. The process followed by IPO has been an inclusive one and it brought all the stakeholders on one table.

Through intra-provincial and public-private cooperation, Pakistan has obtained the GI tag for its Basmati rice which would strengthen the case against India in the EU.

Since Basmati rice fetched higher prices than non-Basmati rice in international markets, India has attempted to block Pakistan’s trade in EU by declaring that its Basmati is the geographically original one. Pakistan has challenged this claim and by registering its own GI for Basmati it would claim the same protection of its Basmati in EU as India.

“REAP as a trade body has been representing and safeguarding the interests of rice exporters in Pakistan since 1994, we will continue to uphold the interests of all our members who together make rice exports Pakistan’s 2nd largest export industry, after textiles,” the spokesperson said.