ISLAMABAD                 -                A parliamentary committee on Tuesday approved ‘The Geographical Indications (Registration & Protection) Bill, 2019’ that would protect indigenous products and promote them worldwide as ‘made in Pakistan’ products.

Senate Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile Industry, which met under the chairman Committee Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi, has approved the Bill after discussing it in details. Mujeeb Ahmed Khan, Chairman IPO Pakistan, briefed the Committee that Bill would help in increasing the exports of the country. Manufacturing and agriculture sectors would be benefited from this bill. As many as 121 countries had implemented the Geographical Indications laws. India had approved such kind of legislation in 1989. There are many similar indigenous products in Pakistan and India. Sometime, India had claimed Pakistani goods on its name.

The committee was informed that bill identifies the products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or reputation attributable to their place of origin. These are generally traditional products that have gained a reputation in the local, national or international market due to their specific unique qualities. The draft aims to recognise and protect these products through legislation allowing the community of producers to get a fair value of their commodities while preserving their unique identity. Member countries of the World Trade Organisation are required to protect Geographical Indications under Article 22-24 of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement.

The bill will help protect various products local to the country including Hunza Apricots, Charsadda/Peshawari Chappal, Multani Halwa, Sindhi Ajrak, Sargodha’s Kinno, Kasuri Methi, Sindhri Mangoes, Dir Knives, Swat Wild Mushrooms, Nili-Ravi Buffalo, Chaman Grapes, Pashmina Shawls, etc.