Pakistan has Secured GI Tag for Basmati Rice, Beating India


Now Reading: Pakistan has Secured GI Tag for Basmati Rice, Beating India

Pakistan has reportedly won the Geographical Indicator (GI) for basmati rice. It had registered its GI for basmati rice in 2020 after India had falsely claimed its product of basmati rice to be original in an attempt to hinder Pakistan’s trade in the European Union (EU). According to reports, Pakistan’s GI tag was approved by the EU, on 26th January.

Meesaq Arif, the Executive Director of Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO), took to Twitter to break the news and congratulate Pakistan for getting its first-ever GI tag.

“Congratulation Pakistan, A landmark achievement in the field of Intellectual Property Geographical Indication. TDAP has been granted BASMATI Rice Geographical Indication Tag by GI Registry (IPO), the first-ever GI in Pakistan. Keep up IPO, Ministry of Commerce,” read Mr. Arif’s tweet.

Special Advisor to Prime Minister for Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood informed about this through his twitter thread.

“I am glad to inform that Pakistan has registered Basmati Rice as Geographical Indication (GI) under Geographical Indications Act 2020. Under this Act, a GI registry has been formed which will register GIs and maintain the basic record of proprietors & authorized users of GI,” said Abdul Razak Dawood.

He also added: “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”.

The Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has made laudable contributions to this achievement. It had formulated trade regulations and rules for basmati rice, educated producers in terms of business as to how basmati rice should be sold overseas via merchants. After its guidance, a report was sent to the relevant authorities of the basmati rice’s production and distribution, which lead to Pakistan winning its first GI tag, rebutting India’s false claims.

REAP is also responsible for exporting basmati rice internationally. It was approached by relevant authorities ahead of Pakistan’s victory against India, to get information about the history, trade, and region of basmati rice in the country.

The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) was given the task of registering all the merchant profiles and trade routes and with the Intellectual Property Organization (IPO). IPO in collaboration with REAP and the Rice Research Institution Kala Shah Kalu, located all the places where the rice is grown, following standard procedures.

Background of the Basmati Rice Case:

In September 2020, India had applied for an exclusive GI tag for Basmati rice in the European Union (EU). The EU had approved India’s application in its official journal, and then claimed basmati rice as an Indian origin product, even though the same rice is produced in Pakistan on a large scale.

Ministry of Commerce officials, when contacted, were unaware of this groundbreaking development which could immensely damage Pakistan’s export to European countries. Abdul Razak Dawood adviser to the Prime Minister (PM) on Commerce had earlier in August 2020 directed officials to implement and apply the GI as the law had been implemented during the start of 2020.

India, to support its claim of exclusivity, had referred to various reports and dictionaries to show that the basmati rice is of Indian origin and conveniently left out the part that the same rice is widely produced in Pakistan.

What is GI?

A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on certain products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g., a town, region, or country).

The use of a geographical indication, as an indication of the product’s source, acts as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities, is made according to traditional methods, or enjoys a good reputation due to its geographical origin.

The GI tag ensures that none other than those registered as authorized users (or at least those residing inside the geographic territory) are allowed to use the popular product name.

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