After GI tag for Basmati, Pakistan set to register pink salt as local product

ISLAMABAD: After the registration of Geographical Indications (GI) for Basmati rice, Pakistan has now decided to register pink salt as its GI product in order to stop India from registering the same as Himalayan salt.

As Pakistan is already fighting a case regarding the GI tagging of Basmati rice against India in the European Union, Islamabad fears that Delhi may register pink salt as its GI product the same way it did regarding Basmati rice.

According to details, officials of the Ministry of Commerce held a meeting with the office bearers of Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO)-Pakistan on Thursday; wherein it was decided that government will register pink salt under the Geographical Indications Act, 2020. The meeting, chaired by Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Razak Dawood, also had IPO Chairman Mujeeb Ahmed Khan in attendance.

During the meeting, the officials deliberated upon potential products for GI registration so as to curb the unauthorised use of Pakistani products by other countries.

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“After the registration of rice, we have decided that pink salt from the salt range mountains of Pakistan will be registered as GI,” the adviser stated following the meeting, adding that this move will encourage and motivate local producers to expand their business at a global level.

“For this purpose, a registrant will be designated with the approval of the federal cabinet,” he said. “At the same time, other products [for GI registration] will be pursued on a priority basis.”

He urged the business community to identify products that could be registered as GI in order to protect them from global exploitation.

Reiterating the importance of GI registration of various products, Dawood said that the registration of GI products will serve as a potential economic tool to promote and enhance national and international trade of Pakistan.

In Pakistan, GI law can protect products including Hunza apricots, Charsadda (Peshawari) chappal, Multani halwa, Hala’s Ajrak, Sargodha’s kinnow, Kasuri methi, Sindhri mango, Dir knives, Swat wild mushrooms, Nili-Ravi buffalo, Chaman grapes, dates from Dera Ismail Khan, Turbat and Khairpur, Pashmina shawls, etc.

According to documents available with this scribe, geographical indication is a broad term that includes indications of source and appellations of origin. An indication of source means any expression or sign used to indicate that a product or service originates in a country, region, or location where the product originated, such as ‘Made in Pakistan’.

The terms of registration for an authorised user of a geographical indication will be for a period of 10 years from the date of filing of an application for registration. This exclusive right over the use of GI will be extendable for another 10 years.

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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]

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