The commerce ministry has sought lists from the provinces and relevant departments for the registration of popular items from different parts of the country under the geographical indications law.
The Geographical Indications (Registration and Protection) Act, 2020 was introduced by the federal government in March last year to highlight the country’s non-agricultural and agricultural products across the world.
Pakistan had taken the step for the indication of local items including pink salt and basmati rice so that they could be protected globally and the country’s traders could benefit from the export of these items.
Items that belong to specific areas of Pakistan and known for their properties can be registered globally under geographical indication.
It has been decided to register agricultural and non-agricultural products for which the commerce ministry has sought a list of items from the relevant agencies of the federal and provincial governments.
These items can be registered under the geographical indications law. This move by the government will also protect Pakistan's local products globally.
In the past, India has been promoting basmati and some other items belonging to Pakistan as its products at the international level, making it necessary to protect their identity. Therefore, the federal government is expediting the implementation of this law.
The Commerce Division told the cabinet in a meeting held in April that geographical indication was like intellectual property rights. They were assigned to a product originating from a specific area whose quality or reputation was attributable to its place of origin.
Geographical indication will serve as a potential economic tool to promote and enhance national and international trade by attracting global demand and premium prices for Pakistan's products.
The commerce ministry has embarked on a drive to identify the public bodies to be authorised by the federal government for the GI registration of Pakistan's products under Section 11(2) of the GI Act 2020 so that the registration process could be initiated by the respective stakeholders/agencies.
The role of registering bodies is important as the responsibility to prepare the Book of Specifications rests with them.
The book is an essential document that contains the name and description of a GI bearing product, its principal characteristics, methods to obtain the product, definition of geographical area (mapping), link between the product and geographical environment, and evidence that the product originated from the defined geographical area.
The agricultural and nonagricultural products which the ministry has proposed for GI registration in the first phase include Chaunsa Mango, Sindhri Mango, Kinnow, Hunza Ruby, Swat Emerald, Kashmir Tourmaline, Skardu Topaz, Skardu Aquamarine, Peridot Stone and Peridot Valley.
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