ISLAMABAD    -   Pakistan has decided to give a befitting reply to India’s claim of Geographical Indication (GI) tag to Basmati Rice in the European Union (EU) and it will file its opposition in the EU. This was decided during a meeting chaired by Advisor for Prime Minister on Commerce Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood. The meeting was attended by Secretary Commerce, Chairman, Intellectual Property Organization (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.

India has recently applied for an exclusive GI tag to Basmati rice in the EU. As per the Indian application, basmati is special long grain aromatic rice grown and produced in a particular geographical region of the Indian sub-continent. In India, this region is a part of northern India, below the foothills of the Himalayas forming part of the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP). The special characteristics of basmati are its long slender kernels with a high length to breadth ratio, an exquisite aroma, sweet taste, soft texture, delicate curvature, intermediate amylase content, high integrity of grain on cooking, and linear kernel elongation with least breadth-wise swelling on cooking. Further, India has claimed that basmati is grown and produced in all districts of the states of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, as well as in specific districts of western Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. India has also referred other reports to show that the basmati rice is of Indian origin without mentioning that the same is produced in Pakistan.

Razak Dawood yesterday categorically stated that Pakistan will fervently oppose India’s application in the EU and restrain India from obtaining exclusive GI tag of Basmati Rice. He 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 in the European Union claiming sole ownership of Basmati Rice, falsely misrepresenting its exclusivity. According to the officials, the EU has uploaded the information on its website so that if any country has any objection it can make a request within a specific time period. They added that Pakistan would challenge the claim, saying that India had manipulated facts in its application and its case was based on weak grounds.