Karachi—The long overdue of Geographical Indication Protection Law, which was drafted in 2001 still pending for enactment causing huge losses to the economy.
Shaikh Khalid Tawab, Sr. Vice President FPCCI while expressing his serious concern has said that absence of Geographical Indication Protection law has created millions of rupees loss to Pakistan’s economy in term of not fetching good prices of Pakistani products from international market.
He added that our neighbouring India implemented this law in 2003 and since then has protected 220 products while Central and South American region has protected 400 products; even African region has registered a product through geographical indication. He underscored that Pakistan is facing tough competition from India due to common history and civilization and in past Pakistan has lost the market of basmati rice due to geographical indication while India has gained maximum market access including due share of Pakistan. He further indicated that Pakistan has blessed with diverse geography, climate, soil, culture and traditions and many of our products related to agriculture and manufacturing sector are qualifying for protection as geographical indications.
Sindhri Managoes, Kinoos, Green cardamom,Khairpur Aseel Dates, Hunza Apricot, Multani Mitti, Hala Handicrafts, Khanpur Oranges, Kasuri Methi, Chiniot Furniture, Sahiwal Cows & Buffalos, Sindhi Ajrak and Cap, Sukkur Chuhara, Shikarpur Pickles, Peshawari Chapli Kabab, Peshawari Ice-cream, Kashimiri Pashmina Shawls, Knives of Wazirabad, etc are the goods that can be protected and will promote our economic development particularly the development of rural areas and enhancement in exports earning and alleviation of poverty.
He further elaborated that Geographical Indication is a form of intellectual property right, which identifies a product originating from a specific area, whose quality or reputation is attributable to its place of origin which helps in stable earning of exports. It has assumed greater importance with their inclusion in the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights of WTO. Being one of the marketing tools and a tag for getting higher price, efforts must be made to maintain the benchmark and keep up the reputation of its characteristics and features, he added. He urged the government for early implementation of Geographical Indication Protection Law with the consultation of relevant federal and province ministries and holding of awareness programme for traders, industrialist and farmers for registration and protection of their products which will help in enhancing of exports.