Lahore: Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan said that Pakistan has received the Geographical Indicator (GI) tag for its basmati rice on January 26th 2021.
With receiving the GI tag the country has managed to save approximately $1 billion export revenue which, country gets through exporting its basmati to European Union.
Advisor to Prime minister on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood on Wednesday also confirmed the development,
In a tweet Dawood said that he is glad to inform that Pakistan has registered Basmati Rice as GI indication under GI act 2020. “Under this Act, a GI registry has been formed which will register GI’s and maintain the basic record of properties and authorized users”.
The advisor further added that “This will provide protection of our products against the misuse or imitation and hence will guarantee that their share in international market is protected”.
IPO Pakistan had filed the opposition under Article 51 of the Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 through a Brussels-based international law firm.
Whereas India had applied for the GI tag for basmati under Article 50(2)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and Council on Quality Schemes for Agricultural Products and Foodstuffs, mentioned in the EU official journal dated 11th September.
As per rice exporter India currently has a larger Basmati share of around 65% in EU, whereas Pakistan got only 35% share in the same market. Pakistan’s total rice exports in 2020 remained at $2.2 billion.
REAP claimed that they have made major contributions in preparing the Book of Specifications for Basmati. “This Book of Specifications lays down the criteria of characteristics for Basmati which needs to be followed by any producer or operator in Pakistan if they desire to obtain the license to use this name”, the association said.
Since REAP is a trade body which has been involved in exporting Basmati to the world and it is representative of Pakistan’s exporters of Basmati, it was best suited to offer insight into Basmati’s trade, characteristics, regions and history. 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, they added.
The registration of Basmati as a GI in Pakistan required the cooperation between the public and private sector. Trade and Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) was designated as a Registrant of Basmati by the Federal Government. TDAP made an application to register Basmati to IPO, which sought an assistance from Rice Research Institute Kala Shah Kaku and REAP.
IPO mapped the regions where Basmati 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 which will strengthen the case against India in European Union.
Since Basmati rice fetch 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 will claim the same protection of its Basmati in EU as India.