Adviser to Prime Minister of Pakistan for Commerce and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood, announced through his Twitter account that Pakistan has filed an opposition notice in the European Union against India’s claim of geographical indication (GI) tag for Basmati rice.
I wish to inform that Pakistan has filed its opposition against the Indian application to European Commission for granting exclusive rights on the use of Basmati for its rice exports to European Union (EU). We assure the rice community that we will defend our case with due diligence and commitment.
Geographical Indication is used for products with a specific geographical origin, possessing qualities or reputation, essentially based on natural and human factors of their place of origin.
According to the media reports the opposition claim was filed by the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP). In a statement on Tuesday, REAP informed that it filed the Notice of Opposition on December 7, 2020. The statement read, “The association took the step on behalf of rice exporters and farmers of Pakistan, who were facing the threat of losing income worth billions of dollars.”
REAP accentuated that Pakistan’s Basmati export segment was thriving, making Pakistan one of the top five exporters of the commodity. Customers of Basmati in the European Union prefer Pakistan’s rice over India’s due to its fine aroma, sweet taste, and soft texture. The high-quality pesticide used by Pakistan is another reason for the higher demand for Pakistan’s Basmati in the EU.
Recently, India had sought the protection of its Basmati rice as a GI product in the European Union in an attempt to hinder Pakistan’s growing exports and the expansion of the local Basmati segment.
According to REAP, the European importers themselves have also objected to the Indian claim on Basmati rice. The association also said that it was working with the Ministry of Commerce for prompt legislation on GI rules in Pakistan. These rules will work as a protection for exporters and farmers of Basmati in Pakistan for their products in the international markets.
Before this, Pakistan also managed to get an illegal trademark of ‘KERNAL’ rice by an overseas company canceled. Commerce Adviser had tweeted earlier that Pakistan had achieved the cancellation of illegal registration of the trademark “KERNAL” by a rice company overseas. He wrote, “This was tantamount to unfair use of intellectual property of Pakistan, as the word is similar to SUPER KERNEL, a premium Pakistani rice variety.”