Federal Commerce Secretary, Muhammad Saleh Ahmad Faruqui, has revealed that India had made a claim for the rights of Basmati rice in the European Union (EU) market.
While briefing the Senate’s Standing Committee on Commerce, Faruqui said that India had also challenged the Geographical Indication (GI) law which provides protection to Pakistani-origin products.
According to details, on 11 September, India had submitted an application for GI tagging of Basmati rice in the EU market.
In case India successfully claims the rights of Basmati Rice in the EU market, Pakistani businessmen would be barred from exporting the product under the brand name Basmati.
It is worth mentioning here that Pakistan exports 500,000 to 700,000 tons of Basmati rice across the globe annually, of which 200,000 to 250,000 tons is shipped to the EU market.
EU’s General Secretariat of the Council has made India’s application public to provide objecting countries a chance to challenge the claim within a fixed time frame.
Chairman Intellectual Property Organization (IPO), Mujeeb Ahmed Khan, briefed the Commerce Committee that IPO has geared up to challenge India’s claim, adding that India made the claim by distorting facts and its case is based on flimsy grounds.
Khan told the committee that India has asserted in its application that Basmati rice is grown only in Indian provinces of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.
However, it did not mention anywhere in the application that the same Basmati Rice is also cultivated in Pakistani Punjab.
IPO Chairman said that the EU will easily quash Indian application seeking the rights of Basmati rice in the EU market.
Rice Exports Decline
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s rice exports in the first two months (July and August) of the FY 2020-21 have reported a 31% decrease against the same period for FY 2019-2020.
In July and August FY 2019-2020, Pakistan had exported 624,266 tons of rice. It has come down to 433,357 tons during July and August FY 2020-21 owing to a decrease in the interest of buyers in the international market following the Coronavirus pandemic.
Where the export of Basmati rice is concerned, its export decreased to 35,917 tons in August FY 2020-21 in comparison to the 66,961 tons during the same period for FY 2019-2020, recording a 46% decline.