Govt to finally table Geographical Indication Bill in NA

The bill will help protect indigenous products including Hunza Apricots, Peshawari Chappal, Multani halwa, Sindhi Ajrak, Sargodha’s Kinno, Swat wild mushrooms, Chaman grapes etc

The government has finally decided to table Geographical Indication (GI) Bill in the National Assembly to protect ownership rights of goods produced in the country, a private media outlet reported.

Due to the absence of GI legislation, international brands continue selling Pakistan-origin goods such as Paul Smith’s Peshawari Chappal, Morrocan Ajrak and California Basmati, depriving the country to get premium on its GIs in the international market.

According to a senior official in the commerce ministry, the cabinet committee for disposal of legislative cases has approved the draft of GI (Registration and Protection) Bill, 2019.

“We will now table the legislation in the parliament after cabinet approval,” the officer said.

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The 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.

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.

Member countries of the World Trade Organisation are required to protect GIs under Article 22-24 of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement.

Similarly, the commerce ministry has also finalised a draft of the GI (Registration and Protection) Bill, 2019, which will provide for the registration and effective protection of the GIs of Pakistan.

As per the proposed set up, application for registration of a GI will be filed by a government body representing the actors (producers, processors etc.) of the specific GI product. The application will be accompanied by a series of details from history, origin of the product to processing of the product.

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