Pakistan to challenge Indian’s claim to basmati GI tag

ISLAMABAD: Taking serious notice of the Indian move of demanding exclusive rights of claiming Geographical Indication (GI) tag to Basmati rice in the European Union (EU), Pakistan has decided to oppose the application soon.

During a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce, Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) Chairman Mujeeb Ahmed Khan informed that Pakistan is preparing its objection to the said Indian Application and will be submitted within the stipulated time frame.

The meeting was attended by Senators Mir Kabeer Ahmad Muhammad Shahi, Zeeshan Khanzada, Nuzhat Sadiq, Dilawar Khan, Rana Mehmood ul Hassan, Advisor to Prime Minister for Commerce, Secretary Commerce and other senior officials of relevant departments.

He said India has applied for GI tag in European Union for BASMATI rice under Article 50(2)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs, mentioned in the EU official journal dated September 11, 2020. 

According to Mujeeb Ahmed, the Indian application mentions Basmati rice as an Indian origin product, despite the fact that similar rice is widely produced in Pakistan. The application is based on half-truth and frivolous grounds having no legal and factual backing. Pakistan exports 500,000 to 700,000 tons of basmati rice to various countries. Out of that, 200,000 to 250,000 tones are shipped to European countries. The European Union is a massive destination for local rice exporters and therefore it is a crucial issue for Pakistan.

EU regulation No 972/2006 of June 29, 2006, lays down special rules for imports of Basmati rice and a transitional control system for determining their origin has recognized Basmati as a joint product of Pakistan and India. Basmati is already recognized as a product of both India and Pakistan under the said European Regulation and its Duty-Free Regime, making it illegal for India to claim exclusive rights of Basmati in the EU.

According to EU’s official journal, any country can oppose the application for registration of a name pursuant to Article 10 and Article 50(2) (a) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs within three months from the date of publication.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Commerce, according to officials, has also held a meeting on the same subject to discuss the filling of objections in the EU besides taking other steps regarding protecting Pakistani products as per the GI law made by the government this year.

Meanwhile, Committee Chairman Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi also directed the officials of the ministry and IPO to immediately respond to the Indian application as the move may damage Pakistani exports.

Discussing another agenda of the meeting regarding smuggling, he said that the illegal trade has reduced substantially due to effective measures for its eradication which has supported the local industry and would be instrumental for promoting economic activities and businesses in the country.  He expressed these views while presiding over the SSC on Commerce & Trade here at Parliament House on Tuesday.

Afridi appreciated the measures taken in this regard and said that the sick units need to be facilitated to ensure their revival. The committee was apprised about the problems faced by the farmers due to inadequate prices of tomato and onion despite good production during the current season. 

The committee was also briefed about the steps being taken for exploring new markets for dates, tax evasion on computers, laptops and other IT equipment, as well as the issues of under-invoicing.

The chairman and members of the committee said that the basic purpose is to protect the local industry and its production for the overall progress of the country.  Senator Mir Kabeer Ahmad Muhammad Shahi said that due to the import of the fruits and vegetable from neighbouring countries, the local farmers from Balochistan do not get adequate prices of apple, grapes, onion and tomatoes. He said that the ministry of commerce and trade should take measures for the protection of local farmers and the utilization of local production before importing such items.

The Ministry of Commerce secretary assured the committee that the issues would be resolved in collaboration with the ministry of food security and the committee would be apprised accordingly. 

Senator Dilawar Hussain, while talking about Afghan Transit Trade, said that due to the deficiency of trackers, there is huge pressure on transit points. He asserted that an appropriate solution to this should be sorted out. 

Afridi said that trade is a backbone of the national economy and an appropriate strategy should be followed to promote business activities in the country.

Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawod apprised the committee that State Bank of Pakistan has been approached for provision of an easy loan through small and medium industries and consultation process for the IT sector is in progress, which will bear positive results.  

Secretary Commerce informed the Committee that E-Commerce policy has been introduced and the committee in its next meeting will be informed about a framework in this regard. 

Chairman of the committee appreciated these measures, however, he emphasized that sick units need to be supported so as to cater to the local requirements and as well as the export orientation from such units.  

Senator Dilawar Khan informed the committee that the Trade and Development Authority (TDAP) could not hold even a single meeting so far.  He further informed that he had sought different details from TDAP which have not been provided yet.  Senator Mirza Afridi said that TDAP is an important organisation, its board should hold regular meetings to proceed on different issues and the people of Pakistan should have access to information.  

He further said that question has been raised about Trade and Commercial Attaché posted in different countries. 

He said that Pakistan produces high-quality tobacco. Trade and commercial attaché should improve their efficiency and awareness must be created about Pakistan products in foreign countries. 

The committee insisted on the provision of facilities and capacity building of the tobacco farmers in Mardan, Charsadda and Swabi districts.

The committee was further informed that a project in collaboration with Swabi University has moved ahead.  Senator Dilawar Khan emphasised that all the stakeholders must be taken into confidence as quality tobacco of the country is produced in these areas and national exchequer gets taxes of worth billions of rupees. 

About the export of the dates, the committee was informed that 70pc of dry dates were exported to India and due to suspension of trade with India, farmers have to face huge losses.

However, efforts are being made to explore alternative markets for export of the dates and different countries have been contacted in this regard.  The chairman of the committee emphasized that these efforts must be expedited to avoid losses to the farmers.

Senator Rana Mehmood ul Hassan suggested that a policy for installation of small sugar mills should be introduced to promote compatibility in the market.  Secretary Commerce informed the committee that such a proposal is already under consideration in different ministries. 

The committee was also apprised about clearance of containers at Port Qasim as well as money laundering issues in the country. 


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Ghulam Abbas
Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]


  1. Assalam o Alekum
    All products should be banned to sell toIndian companies they are labeling our product by of their country name

  2. India do not do it, India growing rice well before Islam came to existence. Arab countries produce nothing like this and Pakistan is a country based on religious ground not a democratic or a secular country but a religious groups of people trying to say we are one but cannot live with Hindus because islam do not allow us to be rule by other faith. Yes right, ince refugees from Arab world came to india as refugees then ruling Indian states for 600 years all of sudden they realised they cannot live but killing of their different tribal population is well known throughout the world. Question is with whom you can live with?

    Okay let’s talk about suffering Gilgit Baltistan who are not getting fair share of their produce shall we?

    Gilgit Baltistan was and is a free independent state well before Pakistan was created in 1947.

    Now Pakistan saying they will merge Gilgit Baltistan into Pakistan making it fifth province. Crime Pakistan commit against people of Gilgit Baltistan is that now in UN people of Gilgit Baltistan speaking out and protesting to free it state because Pakistani army have killed hundreds of thousands men and kidnapped thousands of women who are missing just vanished masses of grave are discovered that this people of Gilgit Baltistan are even buried live or killed.

    After killing of population of Gilgit Baltistan Pakistan sent million of it own population in settlement to call it own province and this is challenge by Gilgit Baltistan speakers in UN.

    Just few days back in UN Gilgit Baltistan speakers have managed to exposed Pakistan.

    Being a partner of China Pakistan have sold Gilgit Baltistan land to China to carry out CPEC project and total benefits goes to Pakistani Army not even Pakistani people so forget people of Gilgit Baltistan.

    China invaded Tibet and draining out it natural resources but 0% benefit to people of Tibet. China stopped tribal people living life they once lived for thousands of years and made camps where Tibetan are forced to work in mines China have created and making Tibetan modern slave who are offered food for slavery.

    World allows because cheap goods they getting from China so here it partner in crime Pakistan knows world will shut their eyes when people of Gilgit Baltistan will be eliminated as usual anyone raise it voice shall be put in prison. Gilgit Baltistan speakers claiming tens of thousands young men are missing and many of them given sentences 70 to 90 years in prison for protesting against Pakistan occupation.

    World remain with their eye shut, mouth covered and ears block because it is cheap knocked down prices China supplying cheap goods. China can advise to Pakistan by saying hey look, we invaded Tibet 25% land Mangolia 30% and 10% from neighbouring countries so we only had 35% land but 65% of the land we invaded and wipe out it population so you join us and do the same.

    Pakistan did it they gave away or gifted away POK and Gilgit Baltistan where China invested 100 billion dollars or more and because Congress Party also india communist Party merge with China but now BJP seeking it land back and people of Gilgit Baltistan wants to join with indja so this is why Pakistan fearing and claiming oh my God people of Gilgit Baltistan not getting it fair share. Dirty politics do work but it always fall because nature take it own route.

  3. Ok so ask the GB and Kashmiri people. Who feels better in which country. Kashmiris are against India and GB people are not. But i guess indians will never get it because your governments and media have deceived you. Kashmir issue is out of your hand sir. And its no usr talking about GB and baluchistan anymore, because the matters are not comparable at all. Wake up

    • Let me clear, i am from Azad Kashmir Mirpur, Pakistan.
      I will serve myself for Pakistan, I’ll die for Pakistan.
      Dil dil Pakistan

    • Good reply
      These mad dogs are not gonna stop , as it’s rightly said barking dogs seldom bite. The people of kashmir are fighting against India. And those people of gilgit who speak against Pakistanin the UN are paid by India who will regret later as many muslim BJP leaders are regretting now.
      It was the pak army who solely supported and helped the people of gilgit.
      Pakistan Zindabad
      Islam Zindabad
      Kashmir Zindabad
      Gilgit Zindabad
      Pak chin dosti Zindabad

      • Remember 1971 ??
        Majority of Muslim Pigs (East Pakistanis) Left Minority Muslim Dogs (Punjabi Wahabi Dogs) with the help of HINDUS (The TRUE GODS) who freed them !!
        Thus SECULAR BANGLADESH was born !!

    • Pakistan is a country where rice is cultivate from the days when I was small, now I am 70 years old and still eating the long, aromatic sweet basmati rice from Pakistan.

      • Ha ha ha, mulla ki daud mohalle tak you proved it as Basmati is grown long before your great great great grand father era when pakistan was not even born….

  4. of thousands men and kidnapped thousands of women who are missing just vanished masses of grave are discovered that this people…….this only happens in Modi annexed indian Kashmir.

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