As India applied for an exclusive trademark seeking sole ownership of the basmati title in the European Union, Pakistan is unhappy. It has “immediately opposed India’s move to gain Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) from the European Commission, an AFP report said. Notably, Pakistan did not have its own GI laws until last year.
According to the report, the move could deal a “major blow to Pakistan’s position in a vital export market.”
“It’s like dropping an atomic bomb on us," AFP quoted Ghulam Murtaza, co-owner of Al-Barkat Rice Mills as saying.
India and Pakistan are the only global exporters of basmati rice. In 2020-21, India became the largest exporter of rice in the world.
“India has applied for PGI status and we are awaiting a decision. The application has been made purely on the basis of the uniqueness of the basmati rice produced here. There are many other items too which enjoy GI status,” Vinod Kaul, executive director, All India Rice Exporters’ Association told India Narrative.
While according to reports several rice exporters in Pakistan have said that India’s move to apply for PGI is intended to block the South Asian country’s exports market, people familiar with the development said that since Islamabad did not frame GI laws till last year, it was not possible for any joint application.
“India says it did not claim in its application to be the only producer of the distinctive rice grown in the Himalayan foothills, but attaining PGI status would nevertheless grant it this recognition,” the AFP report said.