The business community has stressed that similar to Basmati rice, Pakistan needs to apply for geographical indication (GI) tag for other products as well to protect and promote locally produced goods that are popular in the international market.

Recently, Pakistan applied for GI tag to the Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) after a conflict erupted when the European Union displayed India’s request for GI tag for basmati rice on its website. Basmati is aromatic rice grown in India and Pakistan.

If one country receives the GI tag, then other countries are either barred from selling the same brand in the international market or receive lower prices for it. Now that Pakistan has also applied for the Basmati GI tag, it is expected that both countries will get their fair share of rice export.

However, there are many more products of Pakistan that need government’s immediate attention for registration in the international market. Products having the GI tag get better prices in the international market.

Some famous products of Pakistan are Hunza apricots, Peshawari Chappal, Multani Sohan Halwa (dessert), Sindhi Ajrak (shawl), Sargodha kinnow, Kasur Methi (Fenugreek) and Sindh mangoes, said SME Farmers Association of Pakistan (SMEFA) Chairman Muhammad Saeed.

In comments to The Express Tribune, he said Dhir knives, Swat’s wild mushrooms, Chaman grapes and Pashmina shawls could also attract a host of customers in the international market.

He said GI tag for a host of Pakistani products other than Basmati rice would not only help exporters earn better prices but would also enhance earnings of farmers, growers and producers who worked day and night in their respective farms and industries.

“Authorities should promptly contact the IPO and claim GI right for goods that are specifically known, reputed and acknowledged for their geographical origin in Pakistan,” said Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) President Zulfikar Thaver.

He called on the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) secretary to apply for GI tag as soon as possible so that exporters could fetch better prices in the international market, which would increase Pakistan’s exports and enhance foreign exchange earnings.

TDAP needs to claim GI tag for Pakistani goods and register all products which deserve GI by virtue of their specific origin, said Thaver.

Cereal Association of Pakistan Chairman Rauf Chappal also requested TDAP, which had been nominated as the registrant for GI tags, to claim GI tag for other products from the IPO. He promised full assistance from exporters in the matter.

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